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By Ann Healy
An anti-vaccination campaigner was convicted and fined a total of € 450 last week for violating Covid-19 regulations after driving more than three miles from his address at a time when temporary travel restrictions were in effect. in place earlier this year – and also for speeding on the same occasion.
Antonio Mureddu (44), domiciled at The Headford Arms, Main Street, Headford, has said he will not seek € 50,000 in compensation from the state to be prosecuted if the charges against him are dropped.
He also refused to accept the jurisdiction of the court and threatened to personally sue the Garda who sued him.
Mureddu donned a floor-to-ceiling purple velvet cape tied at the neck over his overcoat and pulled the pink tie he was wearing on the outside of the overcoat before entering the District Court courtroom from Galway yesterday afternoon.
He was accompanied by a woman who wore a mask.
Mureddu faced two summons. The first was for speeding and the second for breaking Covid-19 regulations by leaving his place of residence without a reasonable excuse after his vehicle was stopped by Garda Garrett Cafferkey in Coolagh, Oranmore, Galway on April 10.
In the morning, Judge John Brennan instructed Mr Mureddu to wait outside until his case was called at the end of the criminal list because he was not wearing a face mask.
When the case was called in the afternoon, Mureddu said he was contesting the cases.
Garda Garrett Cafferkey testified that he was performing a speed check in Glenascaul, Oranmore at 1:55 p.m. on April 10 when he detected a Corsa traveling at 134 km / h in a 100 km / h zone.
He followed the car in his marked patrol car and stopped it at Coolagh, Oranmore.
He spoke to the accused, who was driving the car. He said Mureddu refused to show him his driver’s license until he showed him his Garda ID, which he did. Mureddu then produced him a full driver’s license.
Garda Cafferkey said Covid’s five-kilometer travel limit was in effect at the time and demanded to know where the driver was going and where he was coming from.
He said Mureddu refused to tell him. He said he described the regulations that were in place for non-essential travel to Mureddu.
“He wouldn’t tell me. I told him I would issue a speeding ticket and he said he would accept the speeding ticket.
“I also told him that a notice of a flat-rate fine for breach of Covid regulations would be issued if he did not inform me of the reasons for his trip, to see if it was essential.
“Mr. Mureddu then said to me, ‘I’ll take you to the Supreme Court. It will cost you money and your job, I swear. He said he could go anywhere he wanted, ”Garda said.
He then issued two fixed charge penalty notices – and neither were paid, he said.
Responding to Prosecuting Inspector Finbarr Philpott, Garda Cafferkey said he was in uniform and was driving a marked patrol car that day.
He said he received recorded correspondence from the accused last Tuesday which contained a number of documents. The first document was a contract in red letters.
“A so-called contract,” added Judge Brennan. Garda Cafferkey agreed.
He said the document contained a number of points.
The first read “Any man or woman acting as an agent of the Irish state who wishes to interfere with my divine right to travel in peace, he agrees to pay me € 50,000”.
The following document contained the terms and conditions for entering into this contract, followed by copies of the “Living Testimony” which was an affidavit, with a photo of Mured above, in English and Irish.
The correspondence also contained copies of tickets issued by Garda Cafferkey.
Another document was written in Italian, which Garda Cafferkey said he did not understand, while another document described copyright laws.
Judge Brennan noted that the same documents were handed over to the court by Mureddu.
He had been given an additional document, he said, which was an opinion challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal.
Mureddu said he sent copies of the same documents to the Supreme Court, the Commissioner of the Guard and all authorities in the country, so everyone would know he was acting in honor.
“I don’t commit any crime. I did not cause any injuries or problems to anyone during my travels, ”he said.
“And you are asking the state for money; are you asking for compensation? Asked Judge Brennan.
Mureddu said he would not seek compensation if the case against him was dismissed.
He confirmed to the judge that he was Italian and that he did not give jurisdiction to anyone in the room to judge him.
Judge Brennan said he values the existence of a constitutional right to liberty, but the state has faced a very difficult situation due to the pandemic where emergency regulations have to be introduced to protect society and they were only temporary and would be terminated in due course. .
He told Mureddu, that after reading his documents and listening to his submissions, he was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the state had proven his case and sentenced him.
Insp. Philpott said Mureddu has been convicted twice before, including a speeding conviction recorded in January 2019, for which he was fined € 500, and in 2011 he was convicted of dangerous driving by the Galway Circuit Court.
Mureddu added that Garda Cafferkey “was playing God”.
In response to the judge, Mureddu confirmed that he was unemployed, paid rent and received social assistance.
Judge Brennan said he knew Mureddu was very attached to these matters before he sentenced him and fined him € 150 for it, his second speeding offense.
He then imposed a fine of € 300 for violating the temporary Covid regulations in effect at the time, which he said reflected the seriousness of the offense.
He gave Mureddu six months to pay both fines because he was unemployed and granted him leave to appeal the convictions.