13 Aug 2022

Banned driver who drove through a Covid checkpoint is jailed

Garda appeal for drivers to slow down at checkpoints

Garda checkpoint in Portlaoise on the first weekend of the first lockdown in 2020..

A disqualified driver who sped through a Covid checkpoint, forcing a garda to jump out of the way of his van, has been jailed for one year.

Carl Reilly (33) “panicked” when he was spotted by gardaí driving a rented van through the Rathfarnham area of Dublin in May 2020, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.

Reilly was disqualified from driving due to previous road traffic offences but had rented the van to work during the Covid lockdown, his defence counsel said.

Reilly was spotted by gardaí who recognised him as he drove through Rathfarnham, before he drove straight through a nearby garda checkpoint, the court heard.

He then sped down the wrong side of the road at 100km/h in a 50km/h zone, breaking a red light, Garda Declan Buckley told Emmet Nolan BL, prosecuting.

Gardaí made the decision not to pursue Reilly for safety reasons. He was arrested at a later date.

Reilly, of Glenmore Court, Rathfarnham, Dublin, pleaded guilty to one count of endangerment, one count of dangerous driving, driving without a licence and driving without insurance at Grange Road, Rathfarnham on May 28, 2020.

He has 29 previous convictions, mostly for road traffic offences.

Mr Nolan said the garda who was forced to jump out of the way of Reilly's speeding van suffered flashbacks and couldn't sleep in the wake of the incident.

Sarah Jane O'Callaghan BL, defending, said her client was not acting out of malice when he drove through the checkpoint, but “panicked” when he was spotted by gardaí because he was disqualified from driving.

Sentencing Reilly on Tuesday, June 5, Judge Martin Nolan said Reilly drove straight through the garda checkpoint, causing the garda to take evasive action before he continued on his “merry way” at speed.

He noted Reilly was disqualified from driving at the time and he handed down a one-year sentence.


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