TD pleads not guilty to driving rap; prosecuting garda unable to attend due to injury
Independent socialist TD Clare Daly appeared in a court in Dublin today to plead not guilty to an offence of driving without reasonable consideration.
Daly, 45, had received a summons in connection with an alleged road traffic incident at the Dublin Port Tunnel, on March 20 last year.
She intends to contest a charge for driving her car “without reasonable consideration for other persons” on a section of the southbound side of the tunnel in the Dublin 1 area.
This charge, on conviction, results in a fine only and carries no risk of a road ban or a jail term being imposed.
The incident is alleged to have occurred less than two months after the Dublin TD was cleared of suspected drink-driving and had formally lodged a complaint with the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission about her arrest being leaked to the news media.
At Dublin District Court today, her solicitor Gareth Noble told Judge Sinead Ni Chulachain that the subject of the summons was a summary offence and did not require directions from the DPP.
The lawyer also said he had hoped to speak to the prosecuting garda, who is based in a city-centre station, “about this prosecution and the manner in which it was brought”.
However, the judge heard that the officer was not available to come to court today because he has been injured and is currently off work.
Judge Ni Chulachain agreed to a defence request to make an order for the prosecuting garda to provide disclosure of evidence in relation to the alleged incident. While the solicitor was addressing the court, the TD, stepped into the witness box holding a folder and documents.
Mr Noble said Daly, who won a Dublin north seat in the Dáil in February 2011, will be contesting the charge, which means the case will go to a full hearing.
Because the charge is a summary offence it is to be retained in the jurisdiction of the district court in which there will be a non-jury trial in which the presiding judge will decide on the verdict after hearing defence and prosecution witnesses as well as any legal submissions that may arise.
No evidence has been heard yet in relation to the alleged incident itself and the TD was not required to testify today when the case was on its first court listing.
But she spoke briefly during the proceedings to confirm that she was pleading not guilty and said “okay” after she was ordered by the judge to appear again on a date in June when the hearing is to take place.