A DISTRICT court judge told a Leaving Cert student that five penalty points will ‘cool his jets’ after the court heard he drove at speed into Ballinhassig village, and took a corner at the wrong side before bursting open two of his tyres.
Judge James McNulty had been dealing with the case of Aaron O’Connor of Derrigra (18) Ballineen at Bandon District Court who pleaded guilty to careless driving.
Sgt Trish O’Sullivan told the court that on Saturday August 27th last at 12.20pm gardaí received a report of dangerous driving from a member of the public in the village.
‘A white BMW drove erratically into the village where a GAA event was taking place and there were a lot of people around.
‘The defendant took the corner at the incorrect side and hit the driver’s tyres on a kerb,’ said Sgt O’Sullivan.
‘Gardaí later found the car parked in the grounds of the GAA pitch with two burst tyres and they seized the car.’
Two days later, gardaí spoke to the defendant who admitted driving the previous Saturday and he provided his insurance details.
He has no previous convictions.
‘The car was parked and the driver was gone,’ remarked Judge McNulty.
Solicitor Eamonn Fleming said his client was heading to Belfast by train and was to be collected by a friend there and he has asked someone could he park in the GAA pitch.
Judge McNulty queried why the defendant was in such a rush, ending up bursting two tyres and leaving his treasured BMW behind.
‘His driving attracts attention in a bad way and he parks up and splits.’
Mr Fleming said his client had bought the powerful BMW the week before and was unable to control it when he entered Ballinhassig that day.
‘He took the corner too fast and burst two tyres while on the wrong side of the road and he was allowed to park his car on the GAA grounds. He no longer has the car and now drives a Passat,’ said Mr Fleming.
‘He is a novice driver studying for his Leaving Cert and he puts his hands up and very much regrets the incident. It clearly was a bad error of judgement.
‘The matter has been weighing heavily on him and he knows he will get several penalty points.’
The court heard that two people made statements about the incident to the gardaí but one later withdrew theirs.
Judge McNulty said he would not disqualify Mr O’ Connor.
But he said that it needs to be a salutary lesson for him and that he needs to realise how close he came to causing a crisis.
He convicted and fined him €500 which also attracts five penalty points.
‘Five penalty points will cool his jets and keep him concentrated on his safe driving,’ said Judge McNulty.