Yacht captain who had 'God-given right' to be on River Liffey found guilty of being drunk

from www.thejournal.ie

A YACHT CAPTAIN has been found guilty of being drunk while erratically sailing a pleasure boat in a Dublin Port shipping lane.

Dublin Fire Brigade and RNLI lifeboats were called out to deal with the incident on the River Liffey that commenced at about 6am on 1 June 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 90-metre Corinthian, a 4,000 tonne cruise liner, Dublin District Court heard today.

During the trial evidence was given that gardaí were also brought out on the water to deal with the situation but were allegedly told to ‘f*** off’. The yacht skipper had insisted it was his “God-given right” to sail his vessel on the Liffey while his co-accused stripped off when he made landfall on the city quays and was arrested naked.

It started after the small yacht left its mooring at a south Dublin bank sailing club. After a couple of hours the sailing boat which had an outboard engine was brought to a halt at Sir John Rogerson Quay while its owner was taken to Poolbeg marina at about 8.20am.

Boat owner and yacht club member Brian Stacey (46), of Derry Drive, Crumlin, and co-defendant Ronan Stephens (42,) a former motorbike racer from Captain’s Road in Crumlin, face charges under the Maritime Safety Act.

They deny careless sailing, operating a vessel while intoxicated and engaging in threatening and abusive behaviour at the shipping lane on the River Liffey.

After a four-day non-jury trial, and a five week adjournment to find a date to resume the case and to consider the verdict, Judge John Hughes found them guilty. They will be sentenced next week.

Giving evidence, yacht captain Stacey had told the court he and friends had gone for a sail early that morning. There was no alcohol on board and he could not remember the last time he had an alcoholic drink, he claimed.

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