A German tourist appeared at a special sitting of Castlebar District Court today (Friday) on a charge of driving without due care and attention following a road accident on a narrow bridge in north Mayo in which two gardai in a patrol car were injured.

The charge against 36-year-old Christian Kluge, Jacob Street, Brandenburg, Germany arose from a collision on Palmerstown Bridge around 9.30 p.m. last night (Thursday).

Judge Fiona Lydon was told by Sergeant Kieran Lavelle that the accused and a fellow passenger were in a rented car which was on the wrong side of the road when the collision took place.

After the head on collision, the driver of the patrol car was taken to hospital. There were no broken bones but the garda physically felt sore.

The accused told gardai he was driving from Killala towards Ballina and was distracted at the time as they were trying to find their Air B+B.

Mark Loftus, solicitor, said the accused made a completely innocent mistake, it was a low speed collision and there was no malice involved.

Judge Lydon said that in all the circumstances she was not going to impose a disqualification.

However, she did impose a €500 fine and allowed Mr. Kluge six months to pay.

An application by Mr. Loftus for free legal aid was refused by the judge on the grounds of the accused’s earnings from his work as a property consultant.


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