A garda has told Kilkenny District Court how she was screamed at by a “totally out of control” Catriona Carey after she informed her that her uninsured car would be seized.
A suspended prison sentence has been handed down to the former Irish hockey international for her second offence of driving without a licence or insurance while disqualified from driving.
Ms Carey, of 2 Weir View Hill, Castlecomer Rd, Kilkenny, appeared before Kilkenny District Court on Monday morning following a warning in her absence last week that failing to appear would result in a bench warrant being issued.
Kevin Roche, defending Carey, said his client pleaded guilty to all four charges: Driving without insurance and without a driving licence at Weir View, Kilkenny, on December 10, 2021, also driving without insurance and without a driving licence at Glendine, Castlecomer Rd, Kilkenny, on November 21, 2021.
Garda Julie Chapman told the court that on November 21, 2021, she was operating a Garda speed check at Glendine, Kilkenny. At 3.50pm, she observed a BMW driving at 70km/h in a 50km/h zone. The garda stopped the car and spoke to the driver, Catriona Carey.
Garda Chapman asked Carey for her driving licence. She told the garda she didn’t have it on her at the time but she did have a picture of it on her phone.
The garda used her mobile device to scan the licence and it came up that Ms Carey was disqualified from driving and had failed to hand in her licence.
It was explained to Carey that she was disqualified and she did not have a valid licence, which meant she was not covered by insurance.
The garda informed Carey she was going to seize the car. At this, Carey screamed at the garda and refused to hand over the keys.
“She was totally out of control,” the garda said. Carey wanted to know how she was going to get her children to school and do the shopping.
The car was seized. Carey eventually calmed down, the garda told the court.
Garda Tom Loughnane gave evidence that on December 10, 2021, he observed Ms Carey driving at Weir View. He was aware at the time that she was disqualified from driving, on penalty points.
The garda stopped Carey and informed her she was disqualified. Carey asked: “Are you targeting me?” And asked was she being picked on. “Do you expect me to get taxis?” He asked for her licence and insurance documents.
Mr Roche put it to both gardaí that Carey’s guilty pleas were of assistance, which they agreed.
He also told the court that there had been some confusion about Carey’s final set of penalty points, which pushed her over the edge to disqualification, and she had been attempting to appeal them.
Mr Roche said his client had never been banned from driving in a court and it was not the case that she had “flagrantly disregarded” a court order.
There were three previous convictions recorded against Carey, including a speeding offence at Carlow District Court in October 2018, and an eight-month suspended prison sentence handed down to her in Kilkenny District Court in February 2020 on a theft charge.
Mr Roche said his client had asked him to apologise in court for her previous non-attendance. She had attempted to engage a solicitor and was under the misapprehension she didn’t have to appear if she was represented in court.
Mr Roche said this was a technical matter but Carey was not "playing ducks and drakes" with the court and was pleading guilty.
Carey, aged 44, is a mother of two and their primary carer, Mr Roche said. These offences occurred at the height of the pandemic and Ms Carey had to drive for the care of her children.
Mr Roche said his client especially wanted to apologise to Garda Chapman for the events at the side of the road. He asked the court to be as lenient as possible.
Judge Geraldine Carthy said she noted the apology and the mitigation from Mr Roche.
For driving without insurance on the November date, Carey was convicted and fined €300. She was also disqualified from driving for two years.
Judge Carthy said it was “very difficult to offer an excuse” for the second incident, on December 10, when Carey had been stopped on November 21, then she got into the car again knowing full well that she was disqualified.
For driving without insurance on the second date, Carey was convicted and a sentence of three months imprisonment handed down. This is to be suspended for 12 months on condition Carey enter a bond to keep the peace. She was also disqualified from driving for four years.
Not having a driving licence was taken into consideration.
Recognisance was fixed in the event of an appeal.