Man collapses in court after being jailed over NCT scam

The case of three men who were involved in a scam of passing unroadworthy vehicles at an NCT test centre has been adjourned after one of them became unwell when the judge sentenced him.

Stephen Rooney, aged 37, had just been sentenced to a year in jail when he slumped over in the dock. Judge Gerard Griffin rose and an ambulance was called for him.

Judge Griffin had imposed a three-and-a-half-year sentence but had suspended the final two and half years after taking into account Rooney’s co-operation with the Garda investigation and remorse.

He was about to sentence his co-accused, Alan Richardson, aged 28, and Vincent Brunton, aged 34, when Rooney became ill.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard last week that Rooney, Richardson, and Brunton were arrested and charged after a Garda investigation in the wake of a 2011 Prime Time documentary.

The court heard that Richardson, who was working as an NCT inspector, was contacted by his neighbour, Rooney, and asked to pass two Toyota Carinas. Both vehicles had previously failed the test and were scheduled for a re-test.

The men were to get €100 between them for their role although no money was ever exchanged. Richardson then asked NCT tester Brunton to pass one of the vehicles as roadworthy.

Rooney, of The Paddocks Grove, Adamstown, Lucan, Co Dublin, pleaded guilty to one charge of forgery of an NCT certificate and one charge of corruption in that he accepted or obtained €100 as an inducement or reward for securing an NCT certificate on April 20, 2011. He has minor previous convictions dating back to 2000.

Richardson, also of The Paddocks Grove, pleaded guilty to the same forgery charge and a charge of corruption in that he accepted a gift of cash from Stephen Rooney as an inducement or reward for an NCT certificate.

Brunton, of Priory Square, St Raphael’s Manor, Celbridge, Co Kildare, pleaded guilty to one charge of forgery, making a false NCT certificate on April 20, 2011.

Neither Richardson nor Brunton have previous convictions and it was accepted that each of the three men fully co-operated with the garda investigation and were genuinely remorseful for their involvement.

A fourth man, Darren Meehan, aged 40, of Delemere, Enfield, Co Meath, was approached to pass the second vehicle. He received a two-and-half-year suspended sentence last month for his role after he pleaded guilty to producing a false NCT certificate.

Judge Griffin adjourned sentencing all three men to March 6 and remanded each on continuing bail after he said he felt it was necessary considering Rooney’s “unfortunate ill health”.

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