A LEIGHLINBRIDGE motorist who rear-ended another car while he was disqualified from driving was given a three-month prison sentence at Carlow District Court last week. Judge Geraldine Carthy said she could not ignore the recidivist offending of 25-year-old Justin Doyle, Tyndall Avenue, Leighlinbridge.
The defendant had 69 previous convictions, including ten for dangerous driving. He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and driving without insurance and a licence at Dunleckney, Bagenalstown on 1 March last.
At the outset of the case, Garda Brian Wilkinson said he responded to a road traffic collision involving two vehicles at Dunleckney on the main Bagenalstown to Leighlinbridge road shortly after 4pm. He observed that a Volkswagen Golf driven by the injured party, a male with a female passenger, had extensive damaged to its rear right-hand side. The defendant had been driving a Mercedes Vito van and the front left of the vehicle was damaged.
Garda Wilkinson said he spoke to the driver of the Golf, who explained that he had slowed down as a car in front of him indicated to turn off at the Green Road.
“The vehicle had slowed to turn off the road when the driver saw a van approach behind them on the right-hand lane. It appeared he was going to overtake the two vehicles in front. At this point, the car in front (of the injured party) turned off. The van turned back into the left and collided into the car with the front left part of the van.”
The court was told the injured party’s vehicle was shunted 15 to 20 meters forward as a result of the collision.
When Garda Wilkinson arrived, an ambulance was at the scene and paramedics were treating the occupants of the Golf.
Garda Wilkinson said Mr Doyle complained of shoulder pain, but did not use the ambulance service. Garda Wilkinson said he soon discovered the defendant did not have insurance or a licence.
Both Mr Doyle and the injured party passed roadside breath tests at the scene.
The court was told the defendant had 69 previous convictions, including ten for dangerous driving. Mr Doyle had been disqualified from driving at the time of the offence.
Defending solicitor Chris Hogan said Mr Doyle and others had scrambler bikes they rode in a field near Bagenalstown. The van was used to transport them. “He was taking them back from a field, 3km from his home. That was the circumstances of his driving.”
Mr Hogan said his client got involved with an older peer group after a family tragedy in his youth. He developed an addiction to unspecified tablets. However, the court was told the defendant had developed “insight” into his addiction and no longer took tablets. The court was told he was working with a drugs counsellor and had engaged with the Ardú substance misuse service. The defendant hoped to get residential treatment.
“He hopes a bed will be available in the next two-month period,” said the solicitor.
Mr Hogan added: “He asks me to apologise to the court, gardaí and the people he rear-ended. He accepts he should not have been driving, that he was disqualified from driving. He accepts he is at risk. I’d ask the court to stay its hand for a probation report.”
Judge Geraldine Carthy did not believe a probation report would add anything more than what had been outlined. She said she could not ignore recidivist offending and how Mr Doyle’s actions had led to a traffic collision, which required an ambulance being called.
Judge Carthy said a court had previously imposed a disqualification on Mr Doyle, which he unfortunately chose to ignore.
The judge imposed a three-month prison sentence and a ten-year driving ban on the insurance charge. A three-month sentence, suspended for 18 months, was handed down on the dangerous driving charge. The defendant was ordered to engage with the probation services and avail of all supports offered.
Recognisances were fixed in the event of an appeal, including conditions that the defendant not drive and that he sign on at Carlow Garda Station.