Radio station ‘stupid’ to fuel driver ire

A district judge said it was dangerous and downright stupid for a radio station to fuel a 67-year-old learner driver’s belief that the Road Safety Authority had a conspiracy against him.

Radio station ‘stupid’ to fuel driver ire

Raymond Heffernan of Mount Brosna, Mayfield, Cork, appealed unsuccessfully against his failure of the driving test for the 17th time.

“I am driving 49 years, I never had an accident in my life, I never even had a parking ticket. I was failed ever before I got into the car. I want justice,” Mr Heffernan yesterday stated at Cork District Court.

“I am 67 years old. I think it is a joke. I think it is high time I got justice.

“There is a vendetta against me.”

Mr Heffernan called a witness, Darren Mullane, a driving instructor trainer.

Judge Brian O’Shea asked Mr Mullane: “Are you saying that a vendetta is extant?”

Mr Mullane replied: “Yes.”

The driving instructor added: “This is his 17th fail. He is after being sponsored by a Cork radio station.”

Mr Heffernan then made a number of references to an appearance on Red FM with Neil Prendeville.

Judge O’Shea said he had asked the appellant to set out the only matters he could take into account: Any allegations of procedural impropriety in the conducting of the test.

The judge said there was no such evidence and he had to dismiss the appeal.

The judge noted that, in the test taken on September 15, Mr Heffernan had two grade 3 faults. One would be sufficient for an outright fail.

Mr Heffernan also had 11 grade 2 faults. Eight of them would result in a fail.

After he dismissed the case, the judge said he felt he should comment on the involvement of Red FM in this case.

“There is a perception of conspiracy in the mind of the appellant. It is shared by his witness.

“Given all the heartache, this court is outraged that a local radio station would fuel this fire.”

Judge O’Shea said it was hard to find words for the actions of the radio station in the case but he added: “Words that come to mind are thoughtless, dangerous and downright stupid.”

Solicitor Edward O’Hanlon represented the Road Safety Authority in the case and Mr Heffernan represented himself.

Judge O’Shea said that because the appellant was representing himself he was giving him some latitude but, after repeated accusations by Mr Heffernan of perjury by RSA witnesses in similar cases taken by him over the years, the judge warned he was not going to allow the court to be used as a forum for mud-slinging.

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