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Judge says driving licence case has ‘echoes of rural isolation'

April 12th, 2019 8:22 PM

By Southern Star Team

The judge said the court would like to ‘try and be lenient'.

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AN elderly man who was denied insurance because he didn’t have a full driver’s licence was brought before Bantry District Court after he ‘took a chance.’

Solicitor Flor Murphy appealed to Judge James McNulty to be lenient with this client, Michael Merwick (74) of Couloghard, Eyeries.

He said Mr Merwick took a chance driving his car but was stopped by Gda Aidan Cremin at Derrincorrin, Adrigole, on December 12th last, and was subsequently prosecuted for driving without insurance.

Mr Murphy said his client had a career in the hospitality industry in the UK before returning to Beara in the 1970s to look after his elderly parents.

‘Each year he renewed his insurance, without having a full driver’s licence, but this year the insurance company said they wanted to see his current licence,’ said the solicitor.

‘Because he had so many provisional licences, his licence was deemed expired, and now he comes before the court with his hands up.’

Mr Murphy said his client lives with his elderly sister who has had a stroke and needs assistance. The solicitor said he had attempted the theory test but didn’t answer enough questions correctly to progress to the next stage.

Describing it as ‘an unusual case,’ Judge McNulty said: ‘It has echoes of emigration in another time, echoes of rural isolation, as well as addressing issues of people’s rights and abilities.’

The judge said the court would like to ‘try and be lenient’ and he encouraged Michael Merwick to ‘get legal after all these years.’

The case was adjourned to a sitting of Bantry District Court in December 2019 to allow him the opportunity to do the theory test, take the required driving lessons, and hopefully pass the test.

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