07 Oct 2022

'You could have killed someone,' Judge tell Laois woman with chequered driving history

'You could have killed someone,' Judge tell Laois woman with chequered driving history

A woman received a suspended prison sentence for a number of motoring offences at Portlaoise district court last week.

Fiona O'Calllaghan, 42, of 30 Buttercup Avenue, Esker Hills, Portlaoise was charged with driving under the influence of an intoxicant, no insurance and no driving licence at Derrycloney, Mountmellick on October 27, 2020.

Garda Dunford told the court that Ms O’Callaghan was stopped at a Covid checkpoint.

She was arrested under Section 4 of the Road Traffic Act. A urine analysis sample showed alcohol in her system.

She was under the limit for alcohol, but there was also two different benzodiazepine tablets in her system, as well as methadone and morphine.

Defence solicitor Philip Meagher said that she was 42 and a single mother.

In a letter read to the court she apologised.

She said she was driving a friend’s car. Her friend had chest pains and a panic attack. It was a stupid mistake.

She had had a lot of difficulties over the years with substance abuse.

She was now on a placement with CADS and was attending a methadone clinic. She was on 87 mls of methadone at present.

She had a chequered history with driving. She was assisting her friend on the day foolishly. The owner of the vehicle was present in the car.

She had since disassociated herself from some company.

Judge Catherine Staines noted that she was disqualified on January 9 for two years for drink driving.

She was driving a car while disqualified and had no insurance. With the combination of things in her system she could have killed someone.

She imposed a three month sentence, suspended for one year and fined her €300.

She warned Ms O’Callaghan that it was her practice to activate sentences if there was a breach.

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