A Buncrana man who
discarded an expired motor tax disc in the car park
of Carn Public Services Centre was summoned to court
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
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
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.