Kildare soldier sentenced for dangerous driving

Pleaded not guilty

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Kildare solider jailed for dangerous driving

A 29-year-old member of the army from Kildare was jailed for 10 months at Athy District Court on Tuesday, September 25, for dangerous driving while over the limit.

Dean Redmond, with an address listed as 15 Cluain Ard, Kilmead, Athy, came to the attention of gardai in the early hours of August 12, 2016, after they received a call to the station about a car driving dangerously on the Kilcullen Road.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the offence.

The court heard that when gardai arrived on the scene at 1.18am on the morning in question, they observed the defendant standing beside his car, which was upside down in the ditch and half on the carriageway.

The defendant was bleeding from his head and his hands, and when he was asked by gardai who was driving the car, he replied "I was".

The defendant then started crying and roaring and told gardai that there were five people in the car but he couldn't find them. He then tried to get back into the car and had to be restrained.

He was described as being very unsteady at the time.

Gardai called an ambulance and began a search for the five people in the field nearby. The garda helicopter was also called to help search. There was no sign of the five people and it later transpired that the defendant made this up.

Mr Redmond was taken to Naas General Hospital where a blood sample was taken from him in agreement with gardai. The results later showed that the defendant was three times over the limit.

The defendant's solicitor argued that there was no evidence his client drove the car that night. The notebook from the investigating garda had since been misplaced.

The defendant gave a voluntary statement to gardai from his house the following day, which read that he had a few pints and he intended on getting a taxi. He could not remember leaving the pub as he was so drunk. He remembered standing at the side of the road and being in Naas General Hospital.

“I think I drove the car,” it said. His solicitor argued in court that his client has no recollection of driving the car. The defendant took the stand and said that he didn't recall driving on the night.

“If you weren't driving, who was?” Judge Desmond Zaidan asked.

The defendant replied that he didn't know. “I don't remember anything,” he said. Judge Zaidan then asked why was he giving evidence.

“You told gardai in your own house that you drove the car. You said it of your own free will. You are 29 and not a baby, Mr Redmond. This was very dangerous and the scene that gardai came upon was very bad. You then lead them on a wild goose chase about five friends who weren't there and all because you drank yourself silly. If you were sober you probably would be dead. I am going to send you to prison.”

The court was told that Mr Redmond has an impeccable army record, where he has worked for the past 11 years. Judge Zaidan said that he was very disappointed in the defendant and in his attitude. “You could have killed someone.” The defendant was sentenced to 10 months, and was also disqualified for four years.

He has since lodged an appeal against his conviction.