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I was nearly crushed by L-driver -- garda

A LEARNER driver "nearly crushed" a garda against the pillar of his house when the officer followed him home for driving at almost twice the speed limit.

James Doyle (19) had to be pepper-sprayed after he refused to get out of his car and reversed into the gates of his house while the garda tried to get him out.

The garda, who was on foot at the time, was caught between the car and a pillar during the manoeuvre at the accused's west Dublin home. Doyle was arrested after a struggle because he became so violent at the scene.

Doyle was banned from driving for two years and fined €600 after he was convicted of two counts of dangerous driving and one of failing to stop for gardai on November 2, 2011.

The accused, with an address at Meegan's Lane, Saggart, had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Garda Damian Greene told Dublin District Court he was on patrol in Jobstown at 11.05pm when he saw the accused's Volkswagen Golf leaving Kiltalown at speed before entering a roundabout without indicating and accelerating up DeSelby Road.

The gardai activated their car's flashing blue lights and followed the defendant, who continued to accelerate onto the Blessington Road, ignoring a stop sign.



RAmmed

He drove onto Mount Seskin Hill in front of a car coming in the opposite direction and continued to drive at speeds in excess of 110kph in a 60kph zone, before slowing to a crawl as he neared his home.

As the accused reversed into his driveway, the garda got out and ran to Doyle's driver's door. It was locked and he ignored requests to turn off his engine and get out.

"He then revved his engine and rammed his car backwards through a set of electric gates," the garda said. "He nearly collided with me as I was caught between his car and a pillar."

Doyle maintained he opened his gates and was reversing in when the garda approached him with a baton in one hand, pepper spray in the other.

The accused said as soon as he opened the car door, he was pepper-sprayed and his reaction was to struggle because it "riled his blood".

The court heard he had recently finished school and hoped to study to become an aeroplane engineer.

His father had died when he was young, leaving him a large inheritance when he had turned 18. He had used this to buy the car, but had given the rest to his mother to pay mortgages on several family properties.

Judge Catherine Murphy said the accused did not strike her as being "a responsible young man".

aphelan@herald.ie