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Driver hit van carrying fox hunters 17.11.11

A MALIN man has been cleared of causing a crash after he hit a parked van carrying two brothers who were out shooting foxes.
Paul McDermott, Bunn, Glengad, denied careless driving causing the crash on the main road near Ballyliffin village at 3.20am on September 19, 2009. He claimed there were no lights on the van when he struck the back of it, in his silver VW Golf.
Brothers Stephen and Terence McEleney, Gaddyduff, Clonmany, insisted they had their parking lights on as they tried to lure a fox from a nearby field.
The court was told how they lured their prey by rubbing styrofoam on glass to create "a squeak that the fox thinks is a rabbit being killed". The animal would then be lamped and shot, the court was told.
Judge Paul Kelly was told that Terence McEleney's driving documents were all in order and his firearm was licensed. The court heard that Stephen McEleney complained of a sore back and neck after the crash.
Defence solicitor, Frank Dorrian, argued that the van’s lights were off because fox-hunting required "an element of stealth". "You wouldn't have been advertising your presence to the foxes of north Donegal," he said. Mr Dorrian asked investigating gardaí was there not a prohibition on shooting on a public highway. Judge Kelly reminded Mr Dorrian that the case before the court was traffic related and not firearms related.
Mr Dorrian said there had to be "reasonable doubt" in the case because of the nature of the brothers' pursuit on the night. Judge Kelly agreed and dismissed the careless driving charge.
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