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26 Sept 2022

Banned Midlands driver told to get 'fabulous' train to Dublin

Tullamore Courthouse

Case was heard by Judge Finan at Tullamore District Court

A JUDGE told a banned driver he should be taking the train to Dublin instead of going by car.

“There's a fabulous train service from Tullamore. No need to drive,” Judge Michele Finan told Michael Ward (27), 2 Kilcruttin, Tullamore when his prosecution came before Tullamore District Court.

Mr Ward pleaded guilty to a number of offences committed at O'Molloy Street, Tullamore on July 19 last year, including driving without a licence and insurance.

Entering a plea of guilty on the man's behalf, his solicitor Donal Farrelly told Judge Finan his client was disqualified when he was stopped.

Garda Conor Shields told the court it was 12.25am when he stopped a Ford Focus driven by the accused.

Garda Shields said the man had 30 previous convictions and 27 of them were for road traffic offences, including seven for no insurance.

In 2018 Mr Ward had been convicted of having no licence and insurance at Athlone Circuit Court and was disqualified from driving for nine years.

Mr Farrelly said Mr Ward was a father of three children aged 10, eight and six and one of them had to be taken to hospital regularly.

Following Judge Finan's remark about the train service, Mr Farrelly said that on the occasion of the offence before the court, he had foolishly decided to give a friend a lift home.

The offence was an aberration and he was fearful of going to jail because he had previously spent three months in prison.

Mr Ward told the court himself the car he had used belonged to his wife.

Judge Finan indicated that she was going to send the accused to Mountjoy for six months.

“What do you want me to do? Tie your hands behind your back?” she asked him.

She told him he was not able to abide by a court order for the sake of his three children. Mr Ward told her he had driven without insurance again because of “stupidness”.

Judge Finan responded: “It's not stupid, it's you just don't care.”

Mr Ward said he was an unemployed man and his wife was expecting another baby next year.

Judge Finan said she would suspend the sentence for two years for the sake of his children but warned the man that if he drove without insurance again he would get a consecutive sentence.

She disqualified him from driving for five years and fixed recognisances for an appeal. She also granted Mr Ward legal aid.

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