11 Aug 2022

Banned driver loses sentence appeal for endangering garda, mother and baby

Banned driver loses sentence appeal for endangering garda, mother and baby

A banned driver, who drove directly at a garda at a checkpoint, has lost his appeal against sentence for endangering the officer, and for endangering a mother and new-born baby when he sped through a red light moments later.

The Court of Appeal heard on Monday that Daniel O’Brien (28) saw that the garda recognised him as he drove disqualified towards the checkpoint in Cork City.

Garda Ryan Dillon had told Cork Circuit Criminal Court that O’Brien had swerved at speed towards him. Gda Dillon, who said he feared for his life, jumped out of the way, but O’Brien’s wing mirror clipped his hand.

O’Brien then overtook a vehicle at speed at a red light, narrowly missing a mother crossing the road with her baby in a buggy. She was forced to drag them both back to the footpath to avoid a collision.

The father of three of Bracken Court, Donnybrook, Douglas in Cork was sentenced in December for the two counts of reckless endangerment carried out on February 6th, 2019 at the South Douglas Road.

O’Brien, who pleaded guilty, had 44 previous convictions, and was jailed last November for 18 months for slashing a man with a sharp object. He had been disqualified from driving for eight years and was uninsured at the time of this offence.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin jailed him for four years for reckless endangerment and also banned him from driving for 12 years. He yesterday appealed against that sentence to the Court of Appeal.

His barrister, Paula McCarthy BL, said that out of his mitigating circumstances, only her client’s early plea had been taken into consideration at sentencing. She also argued that no consideration had been given to suspending a portion of the sentence.

Donal O’Sullivan BL responded on behalf of the DPP, noting that a sentencing judge did not have to suspend a portion of a sentence.

Court President Justice George Birmingham, who sat with Justice John Edwards and Justice Aileen Donnelly took some time to consider the case.

They said that they found no error in principle and dismissed the appeal.

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