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Two men jailed for drunkenly sailing yacht up the Liffey get appeal hearing date

The yacht skipper claimed it was his “God-given right” to sail on the Liffey during the incident.

File photo
File photo
Image: Leah Farrell

A YACHT CAPTAIN and his shipmate found guilty of being drunk while erratically sailing a pleasure boat at Dublin Port will face an appeal hearing next April.

Yacht club member Brian Stacey, 46, of Derry Drive, Crumlin and co-defendant Ronan Stephens, 43, a former motorbike racer from Captain’s Road in Crumlin, were each handed jail sentences in January.

Sentences of three months, with the final month suspended in each case, were imposed and both were fined €1,000.

They were also ordered to complete alcohol awareness courses within six months, following their hearing at Dublin District Court. However, they lodged an appeal, to overturn the verdict and sentences, which has now come before the Circuit Court.

The appeal court ordered that it will be heard on April 13 next. Dublin Fire Brigade, a tugboat, a RNLI lifeboat, and gardaí had to get involved in dealing with the incident on the Liffey and the shipping lane, in the morning of June 1, 2017.

The sailors on a small 26-foot quarter tonne pleasure craft named the Peja refused to get out of the shipping lane and delayed the approach of the Corinthian, a 90-metre 4,000 tonne cruise liner, their non-trial at Dublin District Court heard earlier this year.

The district court heard gardaí were also brought out on the water to help deal with the situation but were told to f*** off.

The yacht skipper insisted it was his “God-given right” to sail on the Liffey while his co-accused stripped off when the boat came in at Sir John Rogerson Quay where he was arrested.

They faced charges under the Maritime Safety Act. They denied careless sailing, operating a vessel while intoxicated and engaging in threatening and abusive behaviour, at the Shipping Lane on the River Liffey.

They claimed there was no alcohol on board, just bottled water, and they were not breathalysed. After a lengthy six day trial, Judge John Hughes had found them guilty. The pleasure boat was seized and destroyed.

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Witnesses described the small boat zig-zagging on the shipping lane fairway. The sailing boat was cornered and began circling between three other vessels: the RNLI boat, a Dublin Port tugboat and a Dublin Fire Brigade craft.

Garda Paul Moody went out on the water on the RNLI boat and jumped onto the harbour-master’s tugboat. He had said he made a request to the pleasure craft sailors to desist.

He said he was met with a “barrage of language” and told “f*** you, who do you think you are, this is our right”.

He also said the defendants had been drinking on the sailing boat and were intoxicated. Garda Patrick Collins said when Stacey also boarded the Dublin Port tug he was aggressive to the pilot and was “highly intoxicated”.

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Tom Tuite

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