District Court Judge Mary Devins has criticised local gardaí for bringing a man from Castlerea prison to court for a minor road-traffic offence.
Owen Gerard McDonagh of 27, Castlegrove, Castlebar, is currently serving a three-month prison sentence in Castlerea for assault and not completing a community service order. He appeared before Castlebar District Court last Wednesday for having no road tax. Two prison guards accompanied Mr McDonagh from Castlerea to Castlebar for the hearing.
Judge Devins slammed the decision to produce him before court for such minor matters, highlighting its cost to the State.
It was initially unclear whether Mr McDonagh was before last Wednesday’s court for other charges also. When it became apparent that it was just for the road tax offence, Judge Devins voiced incredulity.
“I don’t believe it – all the cost that has been incurred here to bring this man from prison for what are only minor Road Traffic Act offences,” she said.
Superintendent JJ Keane explained that prosecuting garda, Garda Declan Glynn, had thought that other matters against McDonagh were also due before the court last Wednesday. Garda Glynn said that he ‘held the strong belief’ that McDonagh was in court last Wednesday for public-order matters but that he learned that those matters are due on November 20.
Judge Devins struck out the road-tax charge.