Later, when Garda Kieran Crowley informed Patrick Lynch, aged 44, of Brookville, Ballygarvan, Co Cork, that he was seizing the Citroen Dispatch van, the defendant cut off all communication with the guard and began reading a book.
During the incident, Lynch was asked for his name on a number of occasions and the only answer he gave was “human being”.
He was prosecuted yesterday for using the phone while driving, having no tax, and obstructing the garda, for which Judge Marie Keane fined him €350, €250, and €750 respectively.
Lynch, who represented himself in Cork District Court, said he was only aware he was facing the car tax charge and not the other two counts. Judge Keane said there was evidence before the court of the accused being personally served with summonses on each count.
Lynch said: “I suffer from Asperger’s. I got confused. At no stage was my conduct anything but passive. I did ask to speak to the guard’s superior officer.
“I experienced a huge shock on the day. I still suffer when I think about it. There was a misunderstanding. I shook hands with the guard and apologised for my honest mistake. This has been a huge learning experience for me.
“I did go into lockdown mode on the day. I did not in any way resist.”
Judge Keane said: “Your conduct on the side of the road was simply outrageous. I don’t accept your attempt to pin this on a diagnosis of Asperger’s. Asperger’s does not explain your conduct on the day. You were obstructive and unco-operative.”
Garda Crowley testified that, on April 18, 2015, while travelling west on the South Ring Road, he saw Lynch driving while holding a mobile phone to his right ear. Garda Crowley activated the blue light and siren on the patrol car and the motorist eventually stopped.
“I approached the van,” he said. “He was eating from a small tub of ice cream. Initially, he refused to speak to me at all. [Later] he denied being on the phone. I asked him his name and he said he was a human being. He asked was I aware of article 30.5 of the Constitution. He said charges would accrue for the time I had him stopped.”