Man caused €2,500 of damage to lorry after leaving sign on road

November 30, 2023

A man who caused over €2,500 worth of damage to a lorry which collided with a metal sign he placed in the middle of a busy Donegal road has been handed a suspended sentence.

Judge Ciaran Liddy said it was ‘fortunate’ that nothing more than material damage was caused in the incident on August 27, 2020.

Mark McElhinney (22)of Liscooley, Castlefin, was charged in connection with the incident.

McElhinney was charged with intentionally placing a metal sign for the direction of traffic, a conveyance, upon a road and was aware that injury to the person or damage to the property might be caused thereby or was reckless in that regard.

The offence, endangering traffic, is contrary to section 14 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, 1997.

Sergeant Jim Collins told Letterkenny District Court the sign was placed in the middle of the N15 Ballybofey-Lifford road outside a filling station at Liscooley. The sign was ‘left in a way, side-on, so you wouldn’t see it.”

Some €2,536.21 worth of damage was caused to a lorry which collided with the sign. In total an estimated €2,600 worth of damage was caused in the incident.

A co-accused has previously appeared in court in connection with this incident.

McElhinney was also charged with an incident at Liscooley, Castlefin, on June 3, 2023. Sergeant Collins told the court that Gardai were alerted to an intoxicated male banging on doors and windows in the area.

Gardai arrived and found McElhinney in a highly intoxicated state and other persons were present.

McElhinney shouted a series of obscenities at officers, calling them ‘fat bastards’ and said: “Fuck you, never catch me you wankers.”

Sergeant Collins said a number of small children were playing in the area at the time.

McElhinney has five previous convictions, the court heard.

Mr Patsy Gallagher, solicitor for McElhinney, said his client left school at an early age and described him as ‘a young man who is easily led’.

Mr Gallagher said another individual was also present when the sign was placed in the road. “He fully accepts his wrongdoing,” Mr Gallagher said. “He gave full and frank interviews.”

He said McElhinney has worked sporadically and has no formal qualification.

Remarking that he believed it to be ‘fortunate’ that more serious consequences didn’t arise out of the incident, Judge Liddy imposed a custodial sentence of six months imprisonment on McElhinney. The entirety of the sentence was suspended for a period of two years on condition that McElhinney remain of sober habits and that he pay €1300 compensation within six months.

The public order charge was marked as taken into consideration by Judge Liddy.