A Castletown man had further jail sentences added to a sentence he is currently serving after Portlaoise District Court heard he drove away from gardai at speed and jumped out of the moving car to escape from them.
Peter Fleming (26), and who gave an address to the court in Castletown, faced charges in relation to road traffic offences, unlawful taking of a car and drug possession on February 6 last.
Inspector Aidan Farrelly told the court the defendant had been observed in a fast food restaurant by gardai near James Fintan Lalor Avenue on February 6 last. Later gardai observed the defendant trying to cover his face while driving a car at Fr Brown Avenue.
Gardai then activated the blue lights on the patrol car but the vehicle driven by the defendant took off. The car was driven on the right hand side of the road, just avoiding pedestrians. When the car approached a roundabout, a lorry had to stop to avoid colliding with the car.
While the car was still in motion the defendant jumped out of it, after which the car crashed through a steel barrier. “He ran from the vehicle to a wooded area beside the motorway and made good his escape,” Inspector Farrelly said.
The Hyundai car driven by Fleming had been stolen a number of days previously, after the injured party briefly left the keys in the ignition near their home.
Gardai found seven deals of cannabis, valued at €100, and a tick list – indicating drug dealing, and the defendant’s mobile phonein the car. The defendant later admitted to gardai that he had been dealing drugs.
On April 25 gardai detected the defendant at Moonbawn, Mountrath and he was apprehended after a short foot-chase. On this occasion he was found to be in possession of 5 deals of cannabis, and another tick list of people who owed him money.
“This tick list indicated dealing in the region of between €3,000 - €5,000,” Inspector Farrelly said. “He admitted to selling drugs and admitted to owing money for drugs he had bought to sell,” he added.
Defence solicitor Declan Breen said his client has a young child and a second one on the way. He is an only child, from the Castletown area, and had first come to garda attention in his teens. “He previously had serious addiction and behavioural issues,” he said. The defendant had been taking cocaine, cannabis, tablets and alcohol, Mr Breen said.
“Due to his anti-social behaviour he became well known in the area,” Mr Breen said.
The defendant had served jail sentences but following his release in August 2014, he had “considerably cleaned up his act,” Mr Breen said, and had returned to sport and was a good hurler.
However, matters worsened in November of last year when a first cousin and close friend was getting married and “because of his reputation” he wasn’t invited, Mr Breen said. This had caused the defendant to “slip badly”.
“He turned up to the wedding and caused damage to the premises and stole a mobile phone,” Mr Breen said. There had been some positive probation reports recommending the defendant for community service but a subsequent poor probation report resulted in a six months prison sentence being imposed.
The defendant admitted he was “reckless” and had sourced the stolen car cheaply, but didn’t steal it, Mr Breen said.
The defendant now plans for his prison sentence to be the fulcrum around which he changes his ways.
He plans to do drug counselling and take psychological intervention.
Judge John Cheatle imposed a six months prison sentence, to run concurrent with sentence being served, as well as a further six month prison sentence, suspended for one year after the defendant is released from prison.
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