TWO young men caught ‘diffing’ outside Letterkenny Courthouse during last weekend’s Donegal International Rally were among seven who avoided a driving disqualification.
Darragh Hamill (21) of Derry Lusk, Smithboro, Monaghan, and Conor Rafferty (20) of Brackenagh West Road, Ballymartin, Newry, County Down, were charged with dangerous driving at Main Street, Letterkenny, last Sunday.
A bench warrant was issued for Shane Ashenhurst of (21) Plumbridge Road, Newtownstewart, Tyrone, who failed to turn up at Monday’s sitting of the District Court. He was charged with dangerous driving at Bonagee, Letterkenny, on Saturday.
Hammill was arrested after Gardaí responded to a report of a car doing doughnuts outside Gallagher’s Hotel, adjacent to the courthouse.
Garda Darren Carter showed Judge Paul Kelly video evidence of the offence from a mobile phone.
Hammill was convicted and fined €500 after having the charge reduced to careless driving and was also fined €250 for driving with no insurance. The court heard the insurance was to be transferred to the car by his father.
Rafferty (20) was fined €500 after being charged with dangerous driving on Sunday at Justice Walsh Road, Letterkenny. Footage of the incident ‘was getting a lot of hits on Facebook’, Inspector Goretti Sheridan. The incident took place in the box junction outside the court at 4.48pm and Garda Marcus O’Dowd witnessed it, she added.
She said that Rafferty, who had two passengers in the car, admitted ‘diffing’ the car around a corner sideways and that there was a large crowd of people watching.
They were among seven young people arrested for dangerous driving offences during the rally.
The men, all in their late teens and early twenties, were from Counties Antrim, Monaghan, Armagh and Galway.
Judge Kelly reduced all the charges to careless driving for a number of reasons including early pleas, co-operation with Gardaí, no previous convictions and the fact some of the defendants depended on their driving licence for work.
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Letterkenny based GP Dr James McDaid said that an ‘awful’ lot of people across Donegal were using benzodiazepines.