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.