Judge questions if Offaly ‘differ’ hadn’t heard rally was cancelled

July 1, 2021

AN OFFALY man caught diffing a car on a main road in Donegal has appeared in court.

Stephen Hensey was before Letterkenny District Court charged with dangerous driving on June 19.

Sergeant Jim Collins told the court that Garda Kilcoyne saw a Toyota Corolla Twin Cam exit from a side road onto the N13. The driver began diffing the vehicle, which ‘fishtailed’.

Judge Alan Mitchell questioned why the defendant was in Donegal on that weekend.

“Why was here here for non-rally weekend?” he said.

Hensey has no previous convictions and is a lorry driver by profession, the Court heard.

“Does he drive this way in Offaly?” asked Judge Mitchell. “Did he get altitude sickness? He should know better. Did the lighter air in Donegal cause him to behave like this?

“This makes no sense if he values his licence.”

Defence solicitor Mr Patsy Gallagher said the Corolla was his client’s ‘pride and joy’.

“He accepts the stupidity of this,” Mr Gallagher said.

“It shouldn’t have happened but it did happen. He is deeply remorseful.”

Garda Kilcoyne agreed that Hensey was ‘very remorseful’ and aware of the ‘gravity of the situation’.

Judge Mitchell reduced the charge to one of careless driving and fined Hensey €200, giving him six months to pay.

Judge Mitchel said: “Did word not filter down to Offaly that the rally had been cancelled? An awful lot of people hadn’t heard. Last year, there was also no rally and I was amazed at the number of people who came here.”