Advice Please: Day in Court - Dangerous Driving

DirectDevil

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636
Firstly, fair play to OP for following this up.

I will not be surprised if the case is struck out on the basis that there is reasonable doubt about the identity of the offending vehicle.

More importantly, will there be the required basic evidence of driving by the defendant ?

There is a break in the continuity of the evidence of the witness's [OP] observation of the offending vehicle.
That does open the way for arguing reasonable doubt.

I admire the thoroughness of OP's research on the used car website. I don't think that evidence - if allowed in - will withstand the inevitable argument that those researches cannot rule out positively the presence of a similar vehicle in the same area at the same time.

All that said I hope that I am 100% wrong and that the defendant is nailed - too much of this nonsense on the roads today.

Even if the defendant is acquitted OP may well have done a good public service anyhow on the basis that the defendant might think twice before doing that again especially if he realises that there are responsible people like OP who will not tolerate it.
 

Drakon

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393
Ten months later...
The case was yesterday.
The State sought a Dangerous Driving conviction (in the hope of securing a Careless Driving conviction).
I was up first, gave my statement to the judge. The accused’s solicitor questioned me a lot, honing in on the exact location where it had happened, saying that he’s familiar with that stretch of road and is not how I describe it. However, I informed him that I’d driven that stretch that morning, clocked the distances between landmaks/junctions and the site of the incident and that it was exactly as I had described.
I was then followed by the Garda that I’d made the statement to.
Next up was the accused, then his girlfriend. Both said that they were in the car, that the incident did not happen, that I’d mistaken his car for someone else.

Given that it was 1 versus 2 I was expecting the accused to get off.

The accused’s solicitor’s final statement was that I was mistaken in the location and in what car was involved.
The State’s final statement was that the location was ultimately irrelevant, you either believe Mr Drakon or Mr Boy Racer.

The judge replied “I believe Mr Drakon”
Yey!

He said he was going to use his discretion and decided not to convict for Dangerous Driving.
He decided to convict for Careless Driving, €250 fine five penalty points.

I am relieved with the outcome. I would be slow to report someone again unless it was more serious and that I had another witness with me.
 

Jazz01

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Drakon - well done for seeing this through to the end. It was a lot of commitment and no doubt some anxiety with this whole process. I am surprised that it went this far, especially, as you say it was a "their word against yours..". A great outcome all the same.
 

elcato

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I'm curious as to whether the accused was throwing any intimidating looks towards you. I have to admit I would probably be terrified. How much detail does the guy have on you regarding address/car reg or work etc ?
 

Drakon

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I'm curious as to whether the accused was throwing any intimidating looks towards you. I have to admit I would probably be terrified. How much detail does the guy have on you regarding address/car reg or work etc ?
We mutually avoided eye contact. However, when The State had him under pressure and he was obviously lying to my ears, I held a constant stare, though it was at the side of his face.

The names, DOBs and addresses of him, his partner, and mine, were all read out.
I can’t recall is exact address or her name. Whether he remembers my address....

When I entered the witness box and swore it, it must have been obvious I’d never done this before. I forgot the bible, fumbled with it when I did pick it up, and held it like a right eejit.
However, when he entered the box he held it just like they do on Irish or English TV.
He has one previous conviction in Ireland, for assault. He’s English, May or may not have priors elsewhere.
 

dereko1969

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2,658
Well done, need more people like you in this country.
Disappointed in the Judge going with Careless, nothing careless about it, it was pure Dangerous the way you've described it. There was a similar case in the North recently, driver in hard shoulder overtaking but not sure they've caught the person yet - video footage was shown - but I would doubt the result would be the same up there.
 

Seagull

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Probably more chance of it being appealed and overturned if he goes for dangerous driving based on purely one eye witness with no supporting evidence.
 

DirectDevil

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Drakon, well played indeed and congratulations on seeing this through.

I have just fitted a dashcam and it is incredible to see what it picks up.
A dashcam is your constant objective witness.
Mind you it also keeps manners on me as it will record any of my potential driving naughties.

You may well have contributed to saving someone's life or limb if the offending driver has the sense to learn his lesson and not do this again.
Even if he appeals successfully to the Circuit Court he will still remember the trouble and expense that his driving has cost him.
 

Palerider

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Well done Mr Drakon and +1 on the dashcam, very necessary in my opinion, in the UK the Police will act on dashcam footage, not sure the Garda would be interested but hopefully at some point, a crazy move on his part as a driver to be fair that deserved to follow him, rest assured you have saved somebody by your actions.
 
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MangoJoe

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Drakon thanks for being a good citizen and having the backbone to keep our roads that bit safer, much respect.

- Just a thought. The Gardai should take the witnesses name, address and DOB in these cases and then once satisfied with the veracity of the individuals details allow them to testify without the amount of exposure mentioned above.... Too much scope for the accused to execute petty or even more serious revenge in my opinion.
 

aristotle

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784
not sure the Garda would be interested
I had one experience a couple of years ago where they were. I witnessed a car dangerously undertaking cars by using the hard shoulder so I rang the local Garda station who promptly had a Motorbike Garda waiting down the road for them.

He pulled them in and I just drove on and later that evening I got a call to say that driver also had no insurance. But the Garda came out to the hotel I was staying at the next morning with his laptop to view and take a copy of my dashcam footage and to take a statement.

I didn’t hear from him again but at least it was one less uninsured driver off the road and hopefully he will learn not to drive like that again. The undertaking of a suv with kids in the back of it, a week after there was 3 road fatalities around where I lived meant I wasn’t going to turn a blind eye to it.
 

Palerider

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Good for you, we have dashcams in all the cars in our house, especially important for the younger drivers and minding their insurance costs, it also keeps tabs on your own driving, maybe sub consiously, I will not hesitate to bring footage to the Garda if the situation arises.
 

Baby boomer

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Not so sure about the absolute wisdom of installing a dashcam. To be sure, it can be useful in some circumstances. But.... There's a basic right in law to silence and non-incrimination. Might it be used against yourself? Does a Garda have the power to seize it and use the footage against your will? If so, under what circumstances?
What rights does the insurance company that gives you a 10% discount have to inspect footage? Is your policy void if you switch it off?

I'd need to know the answers to these questions before I'd put one on my car.
 

Palerider

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1,435
I have a dashcam, I do not seek any discount from my insurer as it would mean I could be asked to supply it.

The camera reassures me, I am claims free for several decades, I ordered mine following a near miss on a corner when I had to swerve to avoid a lady on her phone over the white line on my side, it removes the issue of who is at fault and in that case had we collided is a silent independent witness to my innocence.

Not sure if the Garda can seize it but they can request it, it is personal property after all.

It will also come on and record for a short period if the car gets a minor shunt whilst parked, handy that.
 
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