Aonghus McCarthy, described as “one of the top solicitors in the country” at last Thursday's sitting of Portlaoise District Court, has been convicted and fined for speeding.
Mr McCarthy (35), of 21 Daneswell Place, Glasnevin, Dublin, was summoned before the court under Section 47 of the Road Traffic Act for driving at a speed of 149kph in a 120kph zone on the M7 at Cappakeel, Portlaoise on October 15th last.
Mr McCarthy told the court that he had not received the first fixed charge penalty notice and had moved house. He did, however, receive the second one at his new address, according to a court report in the Laois Nationalist.
He said that the address on his driving licence at the time of the alleged offence was 53 Wellington House, Dublin 8. He said he had since moved into a new house with his partner. He accepted, however, that he gave his new current address to the Garda when stopped. He maintained he did not receive the first penalty notice at this new address.
Asked by Judge Catherine Staines if he was having problems with the post going to his new address, Mr McCarthy said he had.
He said his post regularly ends up at An Post's office on Collins Avenue.
Sergeant JJ Kirby put it to Mr McCarthy: “You are one of the top solicitors in the country. You are well aware that you could have paid the fine before the court date.”
“I didn’t get the fixed penalty notice. The estate was built last year and there have been problems with the post. If we try and order a pizza, it doesn’t end up at our address,” Mr McCarthy replied.
“It’s a three-storey house,” said Sgt Kirby, “I put it to you that you did get it.”
“I didn’t,” said Mr McCarthy.
Judge Staines said she did not accept Mr McCarthy's evidence. Mr McCarthy accepted that he did receive the second notice, which was served on him at the house by a Garda.
He said the reason he didn't pay the fine when he got the second notice was that he didn't want to pay the higher fine that comes with the later summons.
“I didn’t lie to the court. I wouldn’t lie to the court. You have made a decision on my credibility and have created difficulties for me and my clients,” said Mr McCarthy.
“Mr McCarthy,” said Judge Staines, “I treat everybody the same in my court.”
Judge Staines convicted and fined the defendant €200, and fixed recognisances in the event of an appeal.
- This article was amended on June 1st at 1pm.