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Buncrana man escapes litter conviction 16.05.07

A Buncrana man who discarded an expired motor tax disc in the car park of Carn Public Services Centre was summoned to court on Tuesday.
Anthony McLaughlin, 3 Millfield Crescent, Buncrana, faced a fine under the Littering Act of 3,000.
However, Judge Desmond Zaidan took a more lenient view when he heard about the 36-year old's personal circumstances and details of the incident.
Solicitor Denis O'Mahoney, for Donegal County Council, told the court that the local authority's litter warden, Jason McGilloway, found the discarded disc on October 9th, 2006. He conducted a check on the registration number and a 125 litter fine was issued to the defendant, who failed to pay it.
Mr. O'Mahoney told the court the maximum fine for the offence was 3,000 and he also asked for costs of 669.
McLaughlin admitted that when he received his new tax disc on the date in question he was "nearly sure I threw it (the old one) out the window". When he received the fine in the post he said he "pushed it to one side" intending to pay it at a later stage. Asked if he was employed, the defendant said he was unable to work as he had had two brain haemhorrages in the past. He also said he was rearing a son on his own and added that he was willing to pay the original fine.
Judge Zaidan said there were "exceptional circumstances" to the case. He told McLaughlin, who had no previous convictions, that while he was "foolish and totally wrong" to throw litter, he could not justify imposing a conviction, hefty fine and prosecution costs on him.
He applied the Probation Act and told the defendant he was free to go.

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