Auctioneer ‘drove at traffic warden’

A businessman started his Mercedes and drove it at a traffic warden in Cork while the car’s tax disc was being checked.

Auctioneer ‘drove at traffic warden’

Auctioneer Humphrey Hogan, charged with dangerous driving, disputed the manner of the impact in the village of Blarney last year.

The 44-year-old insisted his car “brushed” off the warden accidentally. However, warden Michael Hegarty said he was shocked after the car hit his knees.

At Cork District Court, after viewing CCTV of the incident outside the Muskerry Arms in Blarney on June 18 last year, Judge Olann Kelleher said: “It is plain as daylight the driver drove at him, I want to know why he did it. Let’s get to the nub of it.

“Is he going to make a full apology to this man?

“If [the defendant] says he is entitled to do what he did, he could be going to prison.”

Hogan, from Cushla, Coolflugh, Tower, Blarney, denied a charge of dangerous driving.

Garda Seán O’Dwyer said Mr Hegarty was in an agitated state, saying that while performing his duty, he was struck by the 07-registered Mercedes.

“Humphrey Hogan then approached me and said Michael Hegarty would not get out of his way when he was setting off from the Muskerry Arms,” said Garda O’Dwyer.

“Michael Hegarty said he had no physical injury.”

In the witness box, Mr Hegarty said he felt shocked but was not injured. As he was checking the tax disc, an individual ran out. “At no stage did this man speak to me, right. He just made a gesture as if he was leaning to the glove compartment. Then he drove off and hit me with the car. At no stage during the incident did he speak to me. I was standing in front of the car. The top of the car hit me in the knees.”

Hogan said he tried to engage with the warden on the day, explaining that he had just gotten his car back after some time in the garage and would be getting the new tax disc as usual. Hogan said: “He did not seem to want to talk to me. I said, ‘Could you move out of the way, please?’ This has been desperately stressful. I would never intend [for something like this to happen].

“I am desperately ashamed, I really am, like. I would not do any harm to someone with my car, especially someone in the public sector with a job to do. I apologise for the stress I caused to the man.

“It was never, never, never my intention. I accept I brushed him.”

Stephen O’Donoghue, defending, said the auctioneer inched out on the occasion.

Inspector Ronan Kennelly said the action caused the warden to be hit.

Hogan said: “I would say ‘no’ to that, I did not feel I hit him… I brushed off him. It was accidental if there was anything.”

Insp Kennelly said: “You can use what words you want, the CCTV is irrefutable.”

Judge Kelleher said: “It is not the most popular job in the world and not the first time he took abuse, but it is different when a car is driven at him.

“I am disappointed with the manner in which [Hogan] dealt with the case — he seems to be blaming Mr Hegarty. [Hogan] frightened the life out of him. He had no physical injury but it shocked him.

“I will give [Hogan] the benefit of the doubt and reduce it to careless driving.”

The judge fined him €750 for the careless driving.

If Hogan had been convicted on the more serious charge of dangerous driving, a two-year driving ban would have been mandatory.

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