A disqualified driver who was high on drugs when he led gardaí on a high-speed chase with a car full of stolen power tools has been jailed for 18 months.
When he was arrested after leading gardaí on a 30 minute pursuit through Dublin last June, James Maughan (35) told them he was on the way to his child's birthday party.
He has 160 previous convictions, including dangerous driving, endangerment, hit-and-run, speeding, theft and driving while disqualified.
He had €6,500 worth of stolen power tools in the back of the car, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard on Friday.
Maughan, with an address at Baskin Park, Cloghrane, Dublin, pleaded guilty to one count of possessing stolen goods including a number of drills, nail guns and hammers at Clonshaugh Avenue, Coolock on June 27 this year.
He also pleaded guilty to one count of driving while intoxicated, one count of driving without insurance and two counts of dangerous driving at various locations in Dublin on the same date.
Sentencing Maughan, Judge Melanie Greally noted he had been disqualified from driving for 10 years just three months before this incident. This was “an outrageous episode of dangerous driving,” she said.
The judge said Maughan's lengthy conviction record for driving offences was an aggravating factor in the case. She said he had put a number of motorists at a “high level of danger” throughout the pursuit.
The judge handed down an 18 month jail sentence and disqualified Maughan from driving for 15 years.
Garda Eoghan O'Neill told Caroline Cummings BL, prosecuting, that a garda pursuit started at 9.10am on the morning in question when Maughan failed to pull over for gardaí near Lucan.
Maughan led gardaí on a pursuit across the M50, during which he swerved across lanes without indicating, drove at high speed and - after leaving the M50 - nearly collided with two buses and a cyclist.
The pursuit ended 30 minutes later after Maughan pulled the car over at Clonshaugh Avenue. He tested positive at the scene for cannabis and cocaine. He told gardaí he was on his way to his child's birthday party.
Gardaí found 13 power tools in the car. They had previously been stolen by two people and had a total value of €6,500. Almost all of the tools were returned to their owners, who did not wish to make victim impact statements, the court heard.
Keith Spencer BL, defending, said his client suffers from a severe psychotic disorder which leads him to commit crimes when he has not taken his medication. He said Maughan was currently “assiduously” attending with the HSE on a monthly basis for an injection.
Mr Spencer said Maughan lives with his elderly parents who rely on him for care when he is not in custody.