Mystery of green diesel in farmer’s van heard in court

A judge and state solicitor both said they felt sympathy for a Co. Limerick farmer found guilty of having green diesel in his van.

Anthony Bradshaw, of Rahard, Pallasgreen, pleaded not guilty to the offence in Kilmallock Court. He was fined €2,500.

The farmer, who represented himself, said he doesn’t know where the marked diesel came from. He said he had filled up his tank with 42L of diesel in Kerry Agribusiness, Herbertstown, on February 21. Bradshaw said he always goes there as he has an account.

Customs and excise officers gave evidence of taking a sample from his vehicle’s fuel tank at a routine checkpoint in Oola on February 24, 2018. It was positive for agricultural diesel.

After speaking with Bradshaw, they then tested Kerry Agribusiness’ tank in Herbertstown on February 26, 2018.

Linda Ryan, customs and excise officer, said the store had received a delivery of diesel on February 7. This was the same diesel that Bradshaw filled his tank with.

After testing the diesel in Kerry Agribusiness, Herbertstown, state solicitor Aidan Judge asked Ryan what conclusions did she form?

“It was perfectly fine, proper, normal diesel,” said Ryan. Details of an interview by customs and excise officers with Bradshaw were read out to the court.

The defendant was asked if anyone else has access to the van. “No; but I don’t lock the vehicle,” said Bradshaw.

The farmer took the stand in Kilmallock Court and passed a large number of documents to Judge Marian O’Leary. It detailed all his diesel transactions with Kerry Agribusiness in Herbertstown.

Answering questions from Mr. Judge about how there came to be a positive test for green diesel in his van, Bradshaw said he couldn’t explain it.

“I get my fuel in Herbertstown all the time. I have the documentation for it. I didn’t put green diesel in my van,” said Bradshaw.

“Are you disputing it?” asked Mr. Judge.

“If the customs and excise say there was green diesel in my van then there was green diesel in my van – but I get my diesel in Herbertstown,” said Bradshaw.

Judge O’Leary said the state has proven its case. “I do find you guilty of having marked diesel in your van,” the judge said.

Mr. Judge said he had no problem with full mitigation from €5,000 to the minimum of €2,500.

“He has no previous convictions,” said Mr. Judge. Judge O’Leary asked Bradshaw if he had anything else to say.

“I did not put green diesel in my van. It’s not feasible. I don’t break the law. If I had I would put my hands up and pay the fine. I don’t know where it came from,” said Bradshaw.

Mr. Judge said he has a “certain sympathy” for Bradshaw. Judge O’Leary said she also feels sympathy for him.

“It is possibly a very genuine mistake. My hands are tied. The minimum I can fine you is €2,500,” said Judge O’Leary.

Recognisance was fixed in the event of an appeal.