Speeding farmer’s bid to outrun garda BMW on bike

April 15th, 2024 1:00 PM

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A WEST Cork dairy farmer sped away from gardaí, possibly doing up to 200kph on his motorbike, and was pursued for 12km before he eventually stopped, a recent sitting of Macroom District Court heard.

Prosecuting, Sgt Trish O’Sullivan told the court that Humphrey Allen, 46, of Bengour West, Newcestown, was spotted by a garda patrol vehicle riding his motorcycle at excessive speed on the N22 road near Lissarda at about 10.30 pm on June 26th, 2023.

The court was told that Mr Allen’s numberplate was partly obscured by his tax disc and that the garda vehicle followed him and activated their blue lights to get him to pull over.

Mr Allen initially pulled to the side of the road as if he intended to stop, but as the garda car slowed down he accelerated away rapidly, overtaking two cars and moving into the opposite lane.

The court heard that Mr Allen was riding a Suzuki 250 motorcycle and was pursued by gardaí in a BMW 5 series vehicle.

Sgt O’Sullivan said that it was estimated that Mr Allen was travelling in excess of 180kph during the pursuit and may have reached 200kph at times.

The court was told that the pursuit lasted for about 10 minutes covering a distance of around 12kms along the N22, the main route from Cork to Killarney.

Sgt O’Sullivan said that the pursuit ended near the townland of Garryhesta at about 10.40 pm when Mr Allen braked sharply, causing a minor collision between his motorcycle and the pursuing garda car.

Mr Allen was breath-tested at the scene and was found not to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time. The court also heard that Mr Allen had no previous convictions.

Defence solicitor Éamonn Fleming said that his client had ridden motorcycles as a young man and at the time of the incident he had acquired the bike from a friend intending to take up motorcycling as a hobby.

He said that he had nine penalty points on his licence and panicked because he believed that he would be put off the road if he had any more points applied to his licence.

Mr Fleming said: ‘He made a crazy decision and took off with the gardaí in pursuit. He very much regrets his actions, it was a moment of madness.’

Mr Fleming told the court that Mr Allen was married with two young children and worked as a dairy farmer.

He said that there were no illegal substances or alcohol involved and that the motorcycle was in a roadworthy condition at the time.

He said that because of the penalty points he had accrued, he would be facing a driving ban until at least May 2025 in any event.

Judge James McNulty said that the length of the disqualification was ‘the least of his worries’ and that a custodial sentence would be warranted in the circumstances.

‘This is a man who was determined to get away and he was going to outrun the pursuing garda vehicle. There are three aggravating factors here, the excessive speed, the prolonged, persistent and deliberate nature of his dangerous driving, and his irresponsible behaviour,’ said Judge McNulty.

‘Ultimately he did cause a collision as well. He was determined to avoid detection and the gardaí did not know what they were dealing with. He could have been transporting something valuable, he could have been an arms trafficker, he could have been on his way from committing a murder. Why would anyone be driving like that on a June evening?’

The judge said that it was his intention to ban Mr Allen from driving for two years and to fine him €5,000 for the two counts of dangerous driving. He remanded Mr Allen on continuing bail to appear again on April 17th for conviction and penalty.

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