A teenager who entered a busy shopping centre car park at high speed before performing dangerous handbrake turns narrowly avoided jail and instead received a six year suspended sentence, was fined €2,100, and disqualified from driving for four years at Galway District Court this week.
Nineteen-year-old Patrick Geaghan with an address at Moyvilla, Oranmore, was summoned to appear before Judge Mary Fahy last Monday for two counts of dangerous driving, driving without due care and attention, having no NCT cert, and driving while unaccompanied.
Inspector Mick Coppinger told the court that on August 24, 2008, at 5.55pm an off-duty garda observed a car driven by the defendant entering the Galway Shopping Centre on the Headford Road at “high speed”. It then revved up, drove up towards Supermacs and performed handbrake turns, causing the car to “fish-tail out” in an area which was full of people. The garda was so concerned about the nature of the defendant’s driving that he deemed it necessary to intervene.
On November 3 at 4.05pm gardai who were conducting a speed checkpoint at Gurraun, Oranmore, observed the defendant driving his red Toyota Corolla at a speed of 158 kmph in a 100kmph zone. Inspector Coppinger said that the car had also been fitted with an emergency wheel which comes with a warning not to go over certain speeds “never mind the speed limit”. The defendant had also been unaccompanied and had no NCT cert. On April 5, 2008, at Bothar Na Dtreabh, Ballybrit, the defendant had been approaching the Ballybane roundabout when he rear-ended a car which then rear-ended another car, causing minor injuries.
Defence solicitor Adrian MacLynn acknowledged that his client’s behaviour had been “stupid” but that he had been covered by insurance and did co-operate with gardai. He added that Geaghan, who works in his father’s tarmacadam business and has no previous convictions, will not be driving for some time as the car is now up for sale.
“This man seems to think that this is a minor offence... The speed you were going at, did you not think you were endangering yourself and others? The rear-ending was because of your speed and you were not able to stop in time,” said Judge Fahy.
“The car in front stopped suddenly,” replied the defendant.
Judge Fahy, who was not impressed with the defendant’s attitude, then convicted Geaghan and imposed a six year sentence suspended for 12 months on condition that he enter his own bond of €500 to be of good behaviour. The defendant was also disqualified for a total of four years and fined €2,100 with three months to pay.