Man drove off with milk van, court heard

A Ballybane man, with 78 previous convictions, was jailed for eight months this week and given a 10 year disqualification after being caught driving off with a Dawn Dairies milk van and for drink driving offences.

Francis Barrett (30 ) with an address given as 23 Glenbaun, Ballybane, and 173 Castlepark, Ballybane, appeared before Galway District Court recently charged with unlawfully taking possession of a vehicle, without the consent of the owner - Arrabawn Co-op Society Ltd - contrary to Section 112 of the Road Traffic Act 1961, at Fairhill Road Lower, Galway, and driving without insurance and failing to produce a driving licence at Ard Alainn, Ballybane, on January 23 2011. He was also further charged with drink driving, driving without a driving licence and insurance, and failing to produce both documents Castlepark Road, Ballybane, on March 14 2011, and drink driving, driving without insurance or driving licence, and no NCT, at Clonboo, Corrandulla, on May 29 2011.

The court heard that on January 23 a Dawn Dairies truck had been left unattended while deliveries of milk were being carried out. The defendant got into the vehicle and drove it up to Ballybane where he was seen getting out and was caught with the keys in his pocket. Inspector Sean Glynn added that there had been some loss of milk but that no damage was caused to the vehicle. Barrett was then stopped driving at Castlepark Road on March 14, arrested under suspicion of drink driving, and giving an intoxiliser reading of 42mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath. On May 5, Barrett was again stopped and arrested on suspicion of drink driving, this time giving a reading of 37mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath. He again had no driving licence or insurance.

The court then heard how Barrett has 78 previous convictions which include 13 convictions for driving without insurance and three for drink driving. In November 2009 Barrett received a three month jail sentence and a 10 year disqualification for drink driving meaning that he was driving while disqualified when these latest offences were committed.

Defence solicitor Valerie Corcoran said that her client had developed “strong addictions” early on in life but that he wants to get treatment and has the support of his family.

“He wants to be given the opportunity to change, this is the first time he has shown incentive, he even went to the probation services himself. What he is trying to do is to help himself,” said Ms Corcoran who then asked Judge Mary Fahy to consider some form of sentence that would help her client in the long run.

Regarding the Dawn Dairies van incident, Ms Corcoran said that there had been individuals with whom Barrett had issues and he just saw the vehicle there. She added that no damaged had been caused, that he just parked and left it.

“I’ve been half my life coming in and out to prison and I want to change my life,” Barrett told Judge Fahy who then imposed a total of 12 months in prison with the final four months suspended for two years on the condition that Barrett be of good behaviour and attends all alcohol and other substance abuse counselling and make contact with the probation services immediately when released. Barrett was also disqualified from driving for 10 years.

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