Man facing Sliabh Liag murder charge given another driving ban

June 19, 2024

A Donegal man who faces a murder trial has been given another ban from driving.

Alan Vial appeared before Letterkenny District Court to face a charge of driving without insurance in February, 2023.

Vial, a 38-year-old of Drumanoo Head, Killybegs and dressed in a black jacket and trousers, is currently in custody awaiting trial and was brought to court by prison officers.

Mr Patsy Gallagher, solicitor for Vial, asked the court not to “add to his woes” and said he has already been disqualified from driving for six years.

Sergeant Jim Collins told the court that Vial was dealt with previously at Buncrana District Court on May 29, 2024, when he was slapped with a six-year disqualification.

Judge Éiteáin Cunningham was informed that Vial has a previous conviction for driving without insurance for which he received a two-year disqualification.

Noting that this is a second charge for no insurance, Judge Cunningham convicted Vial and fined him €250. Vial was disqualified from driving for a period of four years, which will run concurrent to the existing disqualification.

Vial is currently in custody at Castlerea Prison and awaiting trial having been charged with the murder of Robert Wilkin, whose body was found off the Sliabh Liag cliffs last summer.

Last month, Vial appeared at Buncrana District Court on charges of dangerous driving and drug driving on the same date in February, 2023.

Gardai received a report about a black Skoda driving dangerously on the Donegal Town-Ballybofey road.

Gardai encountered the vehicle at McClay’s Corner in Stranorlar and identified the driver as being Vial, whose face was “flushed” while he had “glassy eyes and slurred speech”.

A roadside test was performed and Vial tested positive for the presence of cocaine and cannabis.

Vial was arrested and conveyed to Letterkenny Garda Station before being released three hours later as no medical professional was available to carry out a further test.

Before being encountered at McClay’s Corner, Vial was observed driving dangerously at Cashelnavean. He was said to have been driving at “great speed” and overtook a vehicle on a solid white line.

At Meencrumlin, Vial performed an overtake manoeuvre, going past three vehicles and forcing oncoming traffic to the hard shoulder.

Earlier this year, Vial was put off the road for two years after he drove a stolen 20 ton rigid lorry 100km across Donegal from Dunkineely to Lifford, via Fintown, Glenswilly and Letterkenny.

He was charged with 15 counts of dangerous driving and was given a sentence of eight months in prison for stealing the lorry, which he drove through the gates of a fish factory in Dunkineely, also in February 2023.

In May, Vial was given a six-year disqualification for drug driving and two-year disqualifications on each of the two dangerous driving charges with the bans to run concurrently.

Vial and a co-accused, Nikita Burns (22), of Bundoran Westend Accommodation, Westend Magheracar, Bundoran, County Donegal are accused of murdering Robert Wilkin at a place unknown within the State on June 25, 2023.

Over two hundred witnesses are involved in the case.

In December, at the Central Criminal Court, Mr Justice Paul McDermott fixed a date of January 13, 2025 for the trial, which is expected to last four weeks.