Man (28) with 40-year disqualification caught driving, court hears

Man jailed for ‘flagrant’ and ‘brazen’ disregard for road laws

A Tuam man, who had 58 previous convictions which included a 40-year disqualification, was sentenced to 12 months in jail and disqualified from driving for eight years for drink driving, driving without insurance, and being drunk in charge of a vehicle.

Patrick Ward (28 ) with an address at Abbey, Abbeyknockmoy, Tuam, was brought before the holiday sitting of Galway District Court last Tuesday where he pleaded guilty to a number of road traffic offences which included drink driving, driving without insurance or a driving licence, failure to produce insurance, having no insurance certificate and no test certificate on June 4, 2009, at Farnmartin, Tuam. He then failed to appear at Tuam District Court on June 9, 2009, and was charged with being drunk in charge of a vehicle at Abbeybeg, Abbeyknockmoy, on August 7, 2009.

Inspector Ernie White told the court that on June 4 the defendant had been stopped at Farnmartin on suspicion of drink driving. Ward gave an intoxiliser reading of 57mgs of per 100mls of breath.

On August 7 at 9.20pm gardai found the defendant sitting in a car with the keys still in the ignition. Ward tried to run away but was apprehended and gave a intoxiliser reading of 70mgs of alcohol per 100ml of breath. The court heard that the car did not belong to the defendant and that he had been disqualified for a long time when stopped.

Inspector White told Judge Conal Gibbons that Ward had a total of 58 previous convictions, the last of which was imposed in October 2008 for failing to give a breath sample, and he was disqualified for 40 years. A similar offence resulted in a 15-year disqualifcation being imposed in September 2008.

“Despite the fact that he was disqualified he gets around... It’s a unique record,” said Judge Gibbons in disbelief.

Defence solicitor Adrian MacLynn said that his client had been in and out of the courts since he was 18 years old. He added that Ward is a single man who has had very little opportunities in his life. Mr MacLynn noted that Ward has been “stigmatised” by a facial defect which he has had since birth and no medical assistance has been sought to date.

“It’s incredible, he has accumulated an extroadinary amount of convictions... he will be going to prison because he doesn’t seem to understand the significance of what is happening. He has literally run out of road,” said Judge Gibbons who was then told that Ward had also received an eight-month sentence in September 2008 for possession of knives.

“I feel the breaches were so flagrant and so brazen that I have to keep you off the road so that you understand that you must obey the law and so that I’m satisfied you are not driving the roads of this country. The seriousness of the number of offences is so extroadinary,” said Judge Gibbons before convicting and sentencing Ward to a total of 12 months in jail and disqualifying him from driving for a total of eight years. He was also fined €100 payable forthwith and granted leave to appeal. The remaining charges were taken into consideration.

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