'Tallafornia' star in court to clear conviction

One of the stars of TV3 reality series 'Tallafornia' has today begun an appeal aimed at clearing his conviction for having green diesel in his BMW car.

Cormac Brannigan (30), known as the “Corminator”, with an address at Woodbrook Court, Castleknock Dublin was prosecuted by the Revenue Commissioners for an offence under the Finance Act.

Last October, at Dublin District Court, he was fined €2,500 after he pleaded guilty to having marked mineral oil containing blue dye in his car's fuel tank, at Airton Road Garda pound in Tallaght, on January 10, 2011.

In those proceedings, he had offered to donate €2,500 to charity in the hope that he would be left without a criminal record, however, the district court had held that a recorded conviction and a fine was mandatory.

The taxi-driver has launched an appeal of the severity of the penalty and the case was listed before the Circuit Court, in Dublin today.

Defence counsel Donall Johnston told Judge Terence O'Sullivan at the appeal court today that the issue in the case was whether a charitable donation in lieu of a fine and a conviction was acceptable.

Mr Brannigan, who has no prior criminal convictions, did not have to give evidence.

Judge O'Sullivan noted that the defence counsel's legal arguments would take about two hours to hear and he adjourned the appeal until a date in March.

In the district court prosecution, a judge had heard that a Customs officer took a sample of fuel from Brannigan's '02-reg BMW, which was tested and found to contain marked mineral oil. A canister containing more green diesel was found in the boot.

Brannigan was questioned and agreed that he had put the fuel in his car.

His lawyer had told the District Court that Brannigan had been returning from a late-night fare when his car broke down and there were not petrol stations open at the time.

He called his father, a garage owner who has a Hitachi truck which uses green diesel, to come and help him.

His father arrived with a canister of fuel and they put it in the car but at the time Brannigan was unaware that it was green diesel.

The defence had said that on the following day, he contacted his mechanic to arrange to have the fuel strained from his car's fuel tank.

A day later Brannigan was stopped by gardaí carrying out taxi regulation checks and they found the canister of green diesel in the boot of the BMW.

His taxi was impounded and tests were carried out on the fuel in his tank.

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