A man stopped whilst driving without insurance on the road outside where he now lives, was fined €750 and banned from driving for two years in the District Court this week (January 13 ).
Matthew Caruana (22 ), a Maltese national with an address at the Genoa Cafe, Custume Place, Athlone, was stopped on September 21 on Church Street without the appropriate documents, which were then not produced within the required 10 days.
Though Caruana was represented in court by Mr Paul Connellan, all discussion went through his girlfriend as the defendant spoke no English.
“He’s been here since September. Why no English?” asked Judge John Neilan.
“Oh, he’s just slow!” said the girlfriend, to much merriment in the court.
She explained how Caruana had come to Ireland in September for a holiday and loved it so much he stayed.
At the time of the offence, he had been working in Ballinasloe and that was why he had a car, his girlfriend told the court.
As it is another EU country, he assumed his Maltese licence was sufficient to allow him to drive in Ireland.
Since he was stopped, Caruana got a job and accomodation in the landmark Custume Place cafe and no longer needed his car, which has subsequently been sold.
Judge Neilan fined Caruana €750, giving him four months to pay, and banned him from driving for two years.
Through his girlfriend, he also explained that if Caruana wished to appeal against this sentence, he had 14 days in which to do so.