Belfast Telegraph

Chauffeur 'drove One Direction star to gig with no Northern Ireland taxi licence'

The chauffeur drove an unnamed member of One Direction
The chauffeur drove an unnamed member of One Direction

By Alan Erwin

A Dublin-based chauffeur company boss could face renewed prosecution over taking a One Direction star to a show in Belfast.

Shane Devine allegedly drove an unnamed member of the chart-topping boy band to the concert without a licence to operate a taxi in Northern Ireland.

He disputes the claims, insisting that he travelled over the border and collected his star fare from a hotel as part of one continual journey in October 2015.

Following the ruling, Mr Devine's solicitor, Denis Moloney, expressed his hope that the prosecution will ultimately be dropped.

He said: "My clear instruction from Mr Devine is that he was making a continuous journey in the 'one direction'."

Proceedings against him had been stayed by a district judge as an abuse of process.

But the Court of Appeal ruled yesterday that was the wrong outcome and remitted the case back to another judge to consider a fresh hearing.

Mr Devine, who operates Devine's Chauffeur Services out of the Republic, picked up the band member at the Culloden Hotel on the outskirts of Belfast.

Promoters of the One Direction gig had instructed him to take the VIP passenger to the performers' entrance at the SSE Arena.

Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) examiners investigating a complaint about an allegedly unlicensed taxi spoke to him after he made the drop-off.

Under caution, Mr Devine said that his Mercedes Viano was booked as a continuous service which originated and was to terminate in the south of Ireland, the court heard.

He confirmed that he did not have a Northern Ireland public service vehicle or taxi driver's licence.

However he did have all the necessary accreditation in the Republic.

Mr Devine was subsequently summonsed for alleged offences of driving and operating a taxi service without permits.

During the original proceedings his lawyers requested full details on any surveillance or monitoring carried out on him.

They claimed department officials had been watching Mr Devine on the night in question following a complaint.

The Public Prosecution Service resisted disclosure, asserting public interest immunity (PII) on the intelligence document containing information passed to the DVA.

Appeal judges were asked to consider the case following decisions to refuse the PII application and to stay proceedings against Mr Devine.

They concluded that both determinations had been incorrect.

Lord Justice Treacy confirmed: "We are remitting the case to Belfast Magistrates Court to be heard by another district judge."

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