A biker was speeding “well in excess of 200kmph” because he thought he was under attack from the biker mafia, a court has heard.
At Ennis District Court today, Judge Alan Mitchell imposed a two year driving ban on Gintaras Kasakas (53) for dangerous driving on the motorway linking Ennis to Galway.
Judge Mitchell convicted Mr Kasakas of the offence after stating that he didn’t find it credible Mr Kasakas’s explanation that he thought the pursuing unmarked Garda car was the ‘biker mafia’.
In evidence, Garda Ronan Higgins said that as he pursued Mr Kasakas on the motorway near the Barefield exit outside Ennis at around lunchtime, he increased his speed to in excess of 200kmph “and the motor bike was still pulling away”.
Garda Higgins said that Mr Kasakas was ‘banking’ his bike as he sped around cars in the pursuit.
Garda Higgins said that as conditions were bad due to heavy rainfall and that as Mr Kasakas was heading towards “a notorious blackspot” of motorway between Crusheen and Gort when there is a heavy rainfall, he decided to end his pursuit.
He told the court: “I deemed it too dangerous to continue the pursuit especially with a motorbike involved.”
Garda Higgins said that as he passed the Crusheen exit, he saw Mr Kasakas standing beside his motorbike at the exit.
Garda Higgins said that Mr Kasakas of Rath Lodge, Ashbourne, Co Meath told him he sped away “because he thought he was under attack from the biker mafia”.
Mr Kasakas is a member of the Kosa Bikers and Garda Higgins said that Mr Kasakas was wearing a biker’s vest with Kosa Bikers emblazoned across the back.
Solicitor for Mr Kasakas, Ms Shiofra Hassett said that there was no reason why Mr Kasakas would flee from the Gardai as all his documentation, insurance, licence etc was in order. She said that he has no previous convictions for anything.
Ms Hassett said that Mr Kasakas’s evidence is that he didn’t believe that it was a Garda in the unmarked car but a member of another biker gang in the area who he would be in fear of.
She said: “His concern on the day was a new motorcycle club, the Bandidos that was set up in the Limerick area and it had attracted some adverse attention, particularly from the Gardai.”
Ms Hassett said that articles published at the time about the Bandidos had linked them to criminal activity.
Ms Hassett said that there had been instances of the Bandidos stopping members of other motorcycles groups on the motorways and de-robing them of their vests.
He said: “It is an unusual defence but I didn’t find it credible.”
Judge Mitchell said that taking account of the speed, the large amount of water on the road, he would convict Mr Kasakas of dangerous driving.
Judge Mitchell also fined Mr Kasakas €350 and granted recognisance in the event of an appeal to the circuit court. Judge Mitchell also praised Garda Higgins for deciding not to continue the pursuit. He said: “One mistake by the motorcyclist would have been fatal.”