Advice Please: Day in Court - Dangerous Driving

Drakon

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In early September I was driving on a National Primary Route (one lane in each direction, with hard shoulder on either side, no dividing barrier).

There was a line of about eight vehicles behind one slow moving vehicle A small red car overtook the slow moving vehicle. Then as he/she was doing this, another car overtook the overtaking car, by going onto the hard shoulder on the opposite side (three cars travelling side by side). It also almost hit the grass bank on the opposite side of the road. Then raced off into the distance.
After my shock, I just thought “someone should report that fool”.
Later on, about 10 minutes later, the same moronic motorist was held up at a right turn junction, at which point I made a mental note of the registration, and when I reached the next town I called into to Garda Station to report what I’d seen, make a statement, etc.

Last week the Gardai phoned me to say that the case will be going to court, and I confirmed that I still intend to attend.

I’ve never been in a courthouse and have no idea what the setup will be. I want to let the court know exactly what I saw, and let them decide from there.
What can I expect?
Thanks.
 

dereko1969

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I was a witness in a totally dis-similar case a few years ago (work-related). I was surprised that, as a witness, I was able to be in the body of the court before being called.
You go up, swear or affirm, and then answer the questions asked, you're supposed to be answering to the judge rather than the lawyer asking you the questions which is a little odd but the chair is angled that way (I think). Be prepared for the defence to try and question your motives, your eyesight and your memory!
Not sure if the Garda will seek you out beforehand to go through your story with the prosecuting barrister, but if you see the Garda involved make yourself known to him/her when you arrive.
Well done, you're doing the right thing.
 

David1234

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This seems like a strange case to be going to court.

If I was on the defence I would point out that there is no way of knowing without doubt that it was the same car that you saw 10 minutes later (when you first noted the reg) and not a similar one.
 

iamaspinner

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I'm no judge or lawyer but I've been to court before. Some cases are open to the public, others are not.

As a witness you're there to assist the court, i.e. the judge, which is why you should address AND face the judge when answering questions: thank you, judge; yes, judge; that's correct, judge; etc. Do NOT say your honour!

Remember you're not being judged, you're not the defendant. The defense may try to discredit you or your memory, and so on. So respond truthfully to what you're being asked and you'll be fine. Don't be afraid to say I don't know or I don't recall... And don't say anything if the defense don't ask a question or they keep quiet after you've said something. They're often waiting for the witness to keep talking and give them ammunition!

Well done on reporting the incident and following through to court. Let us know how you get on.
 

dereko1969

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This seems like a strange case to be going to court.

If I was on the defence I would point out that there is no way of knowing without doubt that it was the same car that you saw 10 minutes later (when you first noted the reg) and not a similar one.
Well it will be up to the defence to cast doubt, the only thing is you seem to be presuming that the OP is the only witness, I would guess there are a few more to back up their story. Given Garda reluctance to investigate matters of this type it seems to me that they must have a very solid case.
 

Drakon

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This seems like a strange case to be going to court.

If I was on the defence I would point out that there is no way of knowing without doubt that it was the same car that you saw 10 minutes later (when you first noted the reg) and not a similar one.
When I went into the station to make my statement the Garda said exactly the same.
I said that when I saw the incident, I noticed that the badge (ie make) was the same as my own, but the model I did not recognise and that the colour was very unusual, a green/grey/blue-ish metallic finish.
Ten minutes later, I saw this very distinctive car again, and noted the reg.
“That’ll do”, she said, and took my statement.

I know it’s only a rough approximation, but I’d a look on a used car sales website for that make/model/year.
There were 0 results.
 

dereko1969

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Excellent! Make sure the prosecuting barrister and/or Garda know that you carried out that research so they can ask you on the stand.
 

Palerider

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I've been driving over 35 years, accident and points free, and like others I have had a few near misses over the years and my fair share of observing lunatic drivers, recently whilst driving locally on a road I know well I met a idiot on a corner with their car cutting the corner and well over a continuous white line on my side, they took no evasive action, I had to, it frightened me.

I went home, got online and bought a quality dashcam as recommended by Which UK, I installed it and now have a reliable 3rd party observer to nab the next lunatic, going to Court cannot be easy for you, good luck...and get a dashcam, the Garda will find it easier to identify and Persue.
 

Drakon

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...car cutting the corner and well over a continuous white line on my side...
I don’t drive that much but I experience this maybe once a month. If I made a statement, with or without dashcam, I’d have little time to enjoy life.

I’ve never seen a car overtaking an already overtaking car before. This was a new experience and in my opinion deserved a statement.
 

Drakon

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A colleague of mine got 1 penalty point for driving on the hard shoulder (of her side of the road).
Dunno if there’re any points for driving on the hard shoulder on the other side of the road.
 

Palerider

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I bought a nextbase dash cam with a quality 32gb sd card capable of recording to hd standard, I think it was a next base 312 but not sure, It was around €95 on eBay, I see on today’s Indo that Axa will give you 10% off if you use a dash cam with 10% off nextbase dash cams at Halfords, Micks Garage etc
 

demoivre

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When I went into the station to make my statement the Garda said exactly the same.
I said that when I saw the incident, I noticed that the badge (ie make) was the same as my own, but the model I did not recognise and that the colour was very unusual, a green/grey/blue-ish metallic finish.
Ten minutes later, I saw this very distinctive car again, and noted the reg.
“That’ll do”, she said, and took my statement.
How does this prove the car was involved in a dodgy overtaking manoeuvre ?
 

Bronte

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Well done Drakon for doing your civic duty and reporting the lunatic and for being prepared to go to court.

Glad too to see the boys in blue have serious issues with this rogue driver, enough to stop him and enough to bring him to court. Bet you anything Drakon is not the only witness.
 

Drakon

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How does this prove the car was involved in a dodgy overtaking manoeuvre ?
Because it was a very unusual car, with very unusual colouring, there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that it was the same car.

It’s a “he said/she said” thing, as in many court cases.
 
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