Nenagh Court was told that a man charged with dangerous driving had passenger leaning out window filming horseFile picture
A motorist who was following a horse and trap outside Nenagh was observed driving with a man hanging out of the passenger window, Nenagh Court heard.
Shane Curtin of Knockane, Newcastle West, County Limerick, pleaded not guilty through his solicitor to dangerous driving at Carrigatoher, Nenagh, on January 6, 2019.
The court heard Mr Curtin, who runs a skip hire business, was in the UK at present on business.
Garda Willie Hayes told the court that the local gardaí received a call about a sulky race on the roadway.
When he went to the area, he observed a horse and trap coming towards the patrol car. It was being followed by a vehicle and he observed a man hanging out of the passenger window. This man appeared to be filming the horse and trap on his phone.
Garda Hayes said that when stopped Mr Curtin apologised to him.
He spoke to the passenger who admitted he had been hanging out of the window while the car had been moving.
Garda Hayes said the incident happened at around 11.40am on a Sunday.
While the roadway carried a lot of traffic during the week a lot of cyclists used it at the weekends as there is a cycling lane on it.
Mr Curtin had been driving half on the carriageway and half in the cycle lane, he said.
Mr Curtin had passed a junction driving in this manner, the court heard.
Cross-examined by solicitor Johnny Spencer, for Mr Curtin, Garda Hayes agreed there was only one car involved and that it was travelling at about 40km/h behind the horse and trap. It was not on the wrong side of the road.
He also agreed that the passenger had not been a minor and that he had apologised.
There had been no issue around the welfare of the horse involved, he said
However, Garda Hayes said he deemed the driving to be dangerous.
Mr Spencer asked Garda Hayes if he accepted that young children often hang out of car windows if they have won a match final.
“I accept that but I don’t condone it,” replied Garda Hayes.
He said the horse belonged to the passenger who said he was watching it for form.
Mr Spencer said his client had explained that the horse had been to the vet for a procedure and the vet had advised him to check its form.
Mr Spencer submitted that there was no basis for charging his client with dangerous driving.
Mr Curtin had been driving at 40km/h in good conditions and the cycle lane would not have been in use much at that time of the year.
“The passenger sitting out the window was an adult and should have known better,” he said.
He said Mr Curtin was a settled member of the Traveller community and sulky racing was part of the culture, but his client had always done it in a safe manner.
Judge Elizabeth MacGrath said that under the Act dangerous driving needed to be a danger to the public or likely to be a danger to the public.
She adjourned the case to July 22 to consider whether or not having a person hanging out of the passenger window could, in this instance, be deemed to give rise to a danger to the public.
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