Not so mellow yellow! Donovan convicted of dangerous driving

Donovan has been convicted of dangerous driving credit:Bang Showbiz
Donovan has been convicted of dangerous driving credit:Bang Showbiz

Donovan has been convicted of dangerous driving.

The 1960’s pop legend, 77, famed for his hits ‘Mellow Yellow’ and ‘Sunshine Superman’, was arrested in February after he was reported for driving erratically and it’s now been reported he has been hit with a two-year disqualification from driving as part of the case.

He was facing three charges in relation to his driving between Leap and Skibbereen in County Cork, Ireland, which included dangerous driving at Smorane, being drunk in charge of a vehicle at Aghills, and failing to provide a breath sample.

The Sun has now reported that in Skibbereen District Court on Monday (23.10.23) Veronica Whooley said on 11 February she was a passenger in a car driving from Skibbereen towards Leap.

She called police after getting worried about the poor driving of the car in front, and officer Daniel Quinlan located Donovan’s car parked partially on the road with its headlights on.

He told the court: “He came across as very disorientated. His eyes were glazed and bloodshot and there was a strong smell of alcohol.

“I conversed with him and he kept saying, ‘I’m fine, I’m fine.’

“He enquired if everything was okay and if he had damaged any person or property.

“I informed him, to my knowledge, he had not. He gave me his details - his address and his date of birth.

“His speech was slightly slurred but not over-slurred to be fair to him.”

The officer also said: “I observed an open bottle of wine in the central console of the vehicle. It was half empty.

“He thanked me for looking after him. He said he was on his way home to Castlemagner.

“I asked him if he knew where he was and he replied he did not.

“I formed the opinion that he was incapable of being in proper control of a mechanically propelled vehicle in a public place due to intoxication.

“At 8.30pm I arrested him for drink driving.”

He said Donovan – born Donovan Phillip Leitch – told him, “I have made an awful mistake”.

Donovan was charged with being drunk in charge of a vehicle and also with failure or refusal to give a breath sample.

When charged he said in regard to the first charge: “I’m sorry – yes I agree,” and “I’m sorry” to the second one.

Judge James McNulty said expert medical evidence confirmed an undiagnosed lung disease which would have prevented the accused from giving a breath sample and dismissed the charge of failing to provide one.

But he added: “I have no hesitation in finding on the evidence that the defendant was driving dangerously. I am convicting him.”

Turning to the final charge of being drunk in charge of a vehicle, he said he would reserve his judgement to consider submissions.

He deferred penalty on the dangerous driving conviction but said a two year disqualification from driving was mandatory.

The case has been adjourned for a final decision at Skibbereen District Court on 13 February 2024.