AN Enniskeane man who led gardaí on a 20km pursuit while on his way home from an AA meeting has been given a four-year driving ban.
David Byrnes of Desert Cross, Enniskeane pleaded guilty to two charges of dangerous driving at Clonakilty District Court last week.
Sgt Paul Kelly told the court that on March 7th last year at 1.30am Gda Eoin O’Reilly was travelling in a marked patrol car from Skibbereen to Clonakilty, while Gda Robert Crowley was travelling behind him in another marked patrol car.
‘While coming into Leap, Gda O’Reilly noticed a silver Toyota Corolla in front of him speeding. He activated the blue light but the driver failed to stop and took off at speed so they activated the siren and he still didn’t stop,’ said Sgt Kelly.
‘The driver turned off the N71 and headed onto the Clonakilty to Dunmanway road, where he witnessed him carrying out dangerous manoeuvres in townlands in Rossmore and Reenascreena.’
They called for further assistance and the defendant was eventually stopped by gardaí in Dunmanway.
‘Mr Byrne told gardai that he panicked when he saw the gardaí as he was on a learner permit and was driving unaccompanied.’
The court heard the defendant has one previous conviction dating back to 2005 where he received a one year driving ban.
Solicitor Conrad Murphy said his client – a father-of-two – doesn’t have a litany of previous convictions and was addicted to drugs before but is now clean of them.
‘He was on his way home from an AA meeting in Skibbereen and there’s no excusing that it went on a long time,’ said Mr Murphy.
The court heard that following the incident he slipped back into addiction for three days.
Judge Colm Roberts remarked that the defendant was ‘either a very lucky driver or a very good driver’ and said that he was lucky no one was killed due to his driving.
‘You have enough problems with addiction, never mind adding the death of someone else to that,’ said Judge Roberts, who also said the gardaí could have been doing other things rather than chasing him across the countryside.
‘Citizens were losing out and it’s a much more cumulative affect here.’
Judge Roberts disqualified him from driving for four years and convicted and fined him €300. Recognisances for an appeal were fixed in the defendant’s own bond of €300.