Motorist claims 'vendetta' against him
on 05/09/2012 00:00:00
However, as the case ended, he made another claim about the pressure he believed the tester would be under to fail him in his 13th test: "The tester that would pass me, they would probably shoot him."
Barry Galvin, state solicitor, said the RSA had done everything possible to remove any impression of bias against Mr Heffernan and had brought in a tester supervisor from Portlaoise, Joe Lawlor, to conduct the latest test on Jul 12 in Cork.
Mr Lawlor said dangerous faults were referred to as grade 3 and they included driving through red lights and the like. He said Mr Heffernan had no grade 3 fault; one would constitute an outright test failure. However, Mr Heffernan had 14 grade 2 faults and nine or more constituted a failure.
He said that in Mr Heffernan's case these included failures to check blindspots when moving off from a parked position, failing to indicate when changing lane on a dual-carriageway, and exceeding the 50km/h speed limit by driving at speeds touching 65km/h.
"On approach to junctions, the applicant put the car into neutral by coasting up to the junction," said Mr Lawlor.
Mr Heffernan denied any such faults in his driving: "I never coasted. That is your words against mine. I never went over 30mph [ie, 50km/h], I never broke the speed limit. I would like this vendetta to stop."
The appellant said he had driven in Ireland and Britain for 45 years and never had an accident except when a young motorist crashed into him in 2008. He has been driving on a provisional licence and taken 12 unsuccessful tests since 2004.
Judge Olann Kelleher said the only issue which he had to determine was if the test had been carried out fairly. The judge said he was satisfied it had been and that there was no vendetta.
Before Mr Lawlor left the witness box, Mr Heffernan asked if he could put one more question to him: "Would you come out with me now in a car?" Mr Lawlor said he would rather not answer. He finally said: "I would be very nervous."