No jail for drug driving car smasher

A man with a number of outstanding warrants up to four years old, including one for drug driving, who was found trespassing in the Father Mathew Hall earlier this month, avoided a jail sentence in the District Court this week (October 27 ), but was fined a total of €1,100 and disqualified for four years.

Trevor Stephens (32 ), with an address at 62, Thornbury Drive, Willow Park, Athlone was discovered in the afternoon of October 7 with at least two others in the empty riverside building. While he was being processed, Gardai discovered a total of 16 outstanding charges, from as far back as December 2006, to which Stephens pleaded guilty on October 8 in Mullingar.

Details of some of his outstanding charges were read to the court. These included drunkenly arguing with the door staff of an Athlone nightclub on December 13, 2006, and stealing a €12 bottle of wine from a shop on the Dublin Road in March 2007.

Of a more serious nature, Stephens crashed a car into two other vehicles on the Market Square, Athlone on June 26, 2007, and failed to stop at the scene. When he was finally apprehended and intoxilised Stephens was found to have benzodiazepam in his system, and an estimated €800 worth of damage was done to each of the cars hit.

He had a number of previous convictions for assault and drug possession, the court heard, but these were from at least nine years ago.

His solicitor, Mr Gerry Gallagher, explained how Stephens had paid compensation for the stolen wine, “recognises he has an alcohol addiction and is dealing with the Open Door Project”, and was a diagnosed manic depressive on valium at the time of the drug driving offence. Mr Gallagher also pointed out how his client had passed the breathalyser test on that day.

“He thoroughly accepts he should not have been behind the wheel that day,” said Mr Gallagher, who pleaded for a non-custodial sentence.

“Alright,” said Judge Aeneas McCarthy, before he fined Stephens €500 and banned him from driving for four years on the drug driving charge, fined him a further €300 for the dangerous driving, and €300 for having no insurance. All others charges were taken into consideration, and he gave Stephens four months to pay.

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