A charge of unlawfully taking a car has been struck out following Judge John Lindsay’s comment that he had a small doubt about the case.
Shane Busher, Slanemore, Bunbrosna denied that he had taken a car from Woodlands, Mullingar on the night of February 14 last year.
He denied he was the person driving the car taken from the home of Lee Stenson after he came home from work, despite evidence from Garda Gareth O’Brien that he admitted to driving when he caught him after a high speed chase. Busher claimed he’d been at a party at Cloghan and was getting a lift as a back-seat passenger in the car driven by a person he had never seen before and hasn’t seen since.
Garda O’Brien described how he’d been on duty that morning when he received a report of the stolen car.
At 8am the car came towards him at high speed as he drove towards Delvin. He turned to follow it but he lost sight of it on a series of dangerous bends and wasn’t prepared to follow the car at its speed.
He found it shortly afterwards abandoned at a junction where the driver appeared to have lost control and hit a bush.
He patrolled the area on foot and by car and eventually saw Busher walking in a field.
Initially he dropped down in the grass but then stood up and said, “It was me. I was driving”.
The garda said he noted this in his notebook and was sure that was what Busher said.
Ms Patricia Cronin said another person had been driving the car and under cross examination, Busher insisted he was getting a lift to Mullingar with someone whom he overheard say he was getting a lift into town.
From there he would get a taxi, he told the court.
He had run because he was afraid they were in trouble. He thought the driver might be stopped for drink-driving.
“When we met the Garda car, the man just took off flying...I just sat there nervous,” he said but admitted leaving the car even though he said he’d done nothing wrong.
A witness described how he’d been at the party with Busher and seen him get into the car with other people.
Ms Cronin said there was no evidence putting her client near Woodlands when the car was stolen.
“I have to say I have a doubt, it’s a small one,” said the judge, dismissing the case.