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Catriona Carey driving ban appeal adjourned after ‘severe breakdown in communication’

Ms Carey has been allowed to keep driving while awaiting appeal outcome

Catriona Carey

Amy Molloy

Convicted fraudster Catriona Carey has had her driving ban appeal adjourned until later this year after her solicitor said he was unaware the case was up for hearing in Kilkenny Circuit Court today.

Ms Carey, with a previous address of Weir View Hill, Co Kilkenny, received a four-year ban from driving and a suspended sentence in May last year after pleading guilty to road traffic offences including driving without a licence or insurance.

She subsequently appealed the decision and has been allowed to continue driving while awaiting the outcome.

The former Kilkenny camogie player was due to appear in court on Thursday to contest her appeal. Her Dublin-based solicitor, Andrew Broderick, said he was not aware that the case was listed for today and neither he nor Ms Carey were present in court.

State solicitor Gerald Meaney told the court that he exchanged texts with Mr Broderick in April, confirming the appeal would be heard on either May 23 or May 26.

He said that he had not received any further contact.

Judge Sinéad Ní Chúlacháin asked Mr Meaney to make enquiries with Mr Broderick as to why neither he or his client were in court.

“I phoned Mr Broderick and I spoke to him, and he was taken by surprise about the case being listed for today, but he did seem to be aware of the callover this morning,” Mr Meaney said.

“He said he tried to text me twice this week, but I have received nothing.”

Local solicitor Edward Hughes, who said he did not receive instructions from Mr Broderick but contacted him “out of courtesy”, applied for an adjournment after what he described as a “severe breakdown in communication”.

Mr Meaney had no objections. He described his previous dealings with Mr Broderick as “very satisfactory” and indicated he would accept any application to put the matter back until a later date.

Four witnesses, including two members of An Garda Siochana who stopped Ms Carey for traffic offences, an employee from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and a garda sergeant from the Fixed Charge Processing Office, were present in court.

Judge Ní Chúlacháin ordered for them to be dismissed.

Mr Meaney said two of the prosecution’s witnesses in the case will be away on holidays in July and asked for the matter to be put back until a later date.

Judge Ní Chúlacháin said it was not up to Mr Meaney to inform Mr Broderick when the case is due to go ahead and said significant costs were involved in calling the witnesses to court.

She said this would be “peremptory” against Ms Carey in the next hearing and advised Mr Meaney to make an application for costs.

In October last year, Ms Carey was due to appear before the court to appeal the severity of her sentence.

Her legal team informed the State on the morning of the hearing that she instead wished to contest the driving ban in full and asked for further time to be given to prepare a case.

The matter was put back until January 2023, but this hearing did not go ahead as there were no judges available to sit.

The former Kilkenny camogie player came to the attention of gardaí for driving offences and received 12 penalty points for speeding in a 50kmh zone and speeding in a 120kmh zone. She was also caught driving while holding a mobile phone on two occasions.

She received a six-month disqualification from November 8, 2021 until May 8 2022.

However, she was stopped by gardaí on two occasions for motoring offences while the disqualification was active.

Garda Julie Chapman gave evidence in Kilkenny District Court that she stopped the defendant travelling along the Castlecomer Road in the county on November 21, 2021.

Gda Chapman said Carey was driving 70kmph in a 50kmph zone and that, when stopped, only had a picture of her driving licence on her phone.

It was discovered that she was banned from driving and when informed of this Catriona Carey “disagreed” and started “roaring and screaming”.

Gda Chapman said the defendant was “totally out of control” and said there “was no talking to her”.

Her barrister, Kevin Roche BL, said there was a “certain confusion” about the penalty points which led to her disqualification.

Garda Thomas Loughnane informed the court that he stopped Catriona Carey driving her BMW on the Castlecomer Road in December 2021.

Gda Loughnane said he was aware that Carey had been disqualified from driving and informed her of this.

Carey told the garda: “This is my car”, that she felt she was being picked on, and added: “Do you expect me to get taxis?”.

Judge Geraldine Carthy took into consideration Carey's apology and guilty plea, but said it was difficult to offer an excuse when she was stopped a month later after getting into a car “knowing full well she's disqualified”.

The court heard how Carey had previous convictions.

She was convicted of fraud in February 2020 after altering a cheque she received from a client who had hired her as his accountant.

Carey changed a cheque for €6,948 which had been made out to Revenue’s collector general, instead making it payable to herself, and cashed it at a bank in Kilkenny.

She received an eight-months suspended sentence.

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