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Early in the morning Drunken sailors who claimed it was their 'God-given right' to sail Liffey see appeal delayed

Brian Stacey, 48, of Derry Drive, Crumlin and co-defendant Ronan Stephens, 44, from Captain’s Road in Crumlin, Dublin were each handed jail sentences in January last year

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Port drama: Ronan Stephens (left) and Brian Stacey. Picture: Courtpix

Port drama: Ronan Stephens (left) and Brian Stacey. Picture: Courtpix

Port drama: Ronan Stephens (left) and Brian Stacey. Picture: Courtpix

A pleasure boat captain and his shipmate found guilty of being drunk while erratically sailing in Dublin Port will face their appeal next year in a bid to over-turn their convictions and jail sentences.

Brian Stacey, 48, of Derry Drive, Crumlin and co-defendant Ronan Stephens, 44, from Captain’s Road in Crumlin, Dublin were each handed jail sentences in January last year.

Sentences of three months, with the final month suspended in each case, were imposed and both were fined €1,000.

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Ronan Stephens. Photo: Collins Courts

Ronan Stephens. Photo: Collins Courts

Ronan Stephens. Photo: Collins Courts

They were also ordered to complete alcohol awareness courses within six months, following their hearing at Dublin District Court.

However, they lodged an appeal, to overturn the verdict and sentences, which has come before the Circuit Court, but it has been delayed as a result of the pandemic.

The court ordered on Thursday that their appeal will be heard on Jan. 22 next year. The case will be listed for mention in November to confirm the hearing date.

Dublin Fire Brigade, a tugboat, a RNLI lifeboat, and gardai had to get involved in dealing with the incident on the Liffey and the shipping lane, in the morning of June 1, 2017.

The sailors on a small 26-foot quarter tonne yacht named the Peja refused to get out of the shipping lane and delayed the approach of the Corinthian, a 90-metre 4,000 tonne cruise liner, their non-trial at Dublin District Court had heard.

The district court heard gardai were also brought out on the water to help deal with the situation but were told to f*** off. Stacey, the yacht skipper, insisted it was his “God-given right” to sail on the Liffey while his co-accused stripped off when the boat came in at Sir John Rogerson Quay where he was arrested.

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Brian Stacey. Photo: Collins Courts

Brian Stacey. Photo: Collins Courts

Brian Stacey. Photo: Collins Courts

 

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They faced charges under the Maritime Safety Act. They denied careless sailing, operating a vessel while intoxicated and engaging in threatening and abusive behaviour, at the Shipping Lane on the River Liffey.

They claimed there was no alcohol on board, just bottled water, and they were not breathalysed.

After a lengthy six day trial, Judge John Hughes had found them guilty.

The pleasure boat was seized and destroyed.

Witnesses described the small boat zig-zagging on the shipping lane fairway of the port.

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