McFadden’s driving charges struck out

FORMER Westlife singer Brian McFadden had several driving charges struck out yesterday as a District Court judge berated the State for delays in bringing the case to trial.

Judge Patrick Brady dismissed the charges after blaming the State for the vast majority of a three-year delay in bringing the case to hearing since the alleged offences were committed.

Striking out the case, the judge claimed the delays represented “an unwarranted invasion of the defendant’s rights to a speedy trial.”

The 25-year-old popstar was charged with careless driving, breaking a 70mph speed limit and driving without reasonable consideration on the M1 motorway at Rowan’s Big, Balbriggan, Co Dublin on September 23, 2002.

Witness, Siobhan Cronin, had started to give evidence against McFadden to Balbriggan District Court about how she was driving her at 11.45pm on the main Dublin-Drogheda road on that date when she was interrupted by the judge.

He demanded an explanation why there had been such a delay in bringing the case to trial.

Kieran Kelly BL, counsel for McFadden, asked the court to strike out the charges on the basis that there was no Garda witnesses to the alleged offences.

He claimed there was a potential difficulty with the recollection of witnesses because of the delay and because the incident had occurred “in the dark of night.”

Mr Kelly explained that McFadden was only responsible for delays in the case since April this year.

Judge Brady said the accused was entitled to have his case dealt with expeditiously.

However, the judge said the main reason for the delay was the failure of the State to provide sufficient resources to the District Court, such as the assignment of judges and the scheduling of sittings.

The clearly happier popstar, declared he was delighted the case was all over. McFadden now lives in the US.

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