Two men jailed following Prime Time documentary on NCT scam

By Sonya McClean

TWO men have been jailed for involvement in an NCT scam where cars previously deemed unroadworthy were passed.

Stephen Rooney (37), Alan Richardson (28) and Vincent Brunton (34) were arrested and charged following a garda investigation in the wake of an RTÉ Prime Time documentary in 2011.

Dublin Courts 4

At Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Gerard Griffin imposed sentences of three years with two-and-a-half years suspended on Rooney and Richardson. He suspended a three-year term for Brunton, whom he said was on the bottom rung of the ladder in the scam.

The court heard previously that Richardson, who was working as an NCT inspector, was contacted by his neighbour, Rooney, and asked to pass two Toyota Carinas. Both vehicles had previously failed the test.

The men were to get €100 between them for their role although no money was ever exchanged. Richardson then asked NCT tester Brunton to pass one of the vehicles as roadworthy.

A fourth man, Darren Meehan (40) of Delemere, Enfield, Co Meath, was approached to pass the second vehicle. He received a two-and-a-half-year suspended sentence last month for his role after he pleaded guilty to producing a false NCT certificate.

Rooney, of The Paddocks Grove, Adamstown, Lucan, pleaded guilty to a charge of forgery of an NCT certificate and a charge of corruption in that he accepted or obtained €100 as an inducement 77for securing an NCT certificate on April 20, 2011. He has minor previous convictions dating back to 2000.

Richardson, also of The Paddocks Grove, pleaded guilty to the same forgery charge and a charge of corruption in that he accepted cash from Stephen Rooney as an inducement for an NCT certificate.

Brunton, of Priory Square, St Raphael’s Manor, Celbridge, Co Kildare pleaded guilty to one charge of forgery, making a false NCT certificate.

Neither Richardson nor Brunton have previous convictions and it was accepted that each of the three men fully co-operated with the garda investigation and were genuinely remorseful.

Judge Gerard Griffin adjourned the case last week after hearing the evidence. He said the men’s actions set at nought the intention of legislation to improve road safety.

He said the cars passed were evidently unroadworthy and unsafe to drive. He said this was a breach of trust and the public was entitled to rely on the system to take unroadworthy cars off the road.

Det-Garda Sean O’Riordan told Maurice Coffey BL, prosecuting, that Prime Time programme makers bought a 1996 Toyota Carina and 1993 Toyota Carina and had them examined by two independent mechanics who confirmed they should not pass the NCT.

In May 2011, the cars were sent for inspection and failed. A re-test was booked and in the meantime the programme makers paid €100 to a contact so that the car would pass the re-test.

The faults identified in the first test were never rectified and in some case further damage was caused. The vehicles were presented again. Meehan and Brunton were examiners and passed the cars.

The cars were examined again by another mechanic following the re-test and still deemed un-roadworthy. They were crushed that same month.

Det-Garda O’Riordan agreed with Mr Coffey that it was accepted in Meehan’s case that faults on the vehicle were considered “a performance issue” and were “not significant safety issues”. He accepted the same could be applied to the second vehicle.

However Judge Griffin said he was not entirely satisfied with that conclusion, having read the engineer reports on the cars.

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