A Ballybane man who drove uninsured while more than three times over the blood alcohol limit and crashing his car causing injury to other road users has received a total of 14 months in jail and disqaulified from driving for five years.
Martin Sweeney (22 ) with an address at 34 Glenbaun, Ballybane, appeared at Galway District Court where he pleaded guilty to a number of offences.
Referring to the most serious incident, Inspector Mick Coppinger told the court that on July 28 last year the defendant was charged with failing to report, driving without insurance, driving dangerously, and drink driving at Monivea Road. The court heard that a report came in of a car which had been seen driving dangerously and which subsequently crashed injuring other people. The defendant left the scene and went to his home, however, he later called the gardai and was taken to Galway Garda Station where he gave a sample which gave a result of 184mgs of alcohol per 100ml of blood. The inspector added that the incident occurred at 3.45pm and that the people in the other car received minor injuries for which they received treatment in hospital.
On June 15 last year at 9pm Sweeney was found to be extremely abusive to the public at Forster Street and was subsequently arrested. Gardai were called again on August 13, 2011, to deal with Sweeney who was being detained by security at Dunnes Stores in Edward Square in relation to the theft of a bottle of Malibu. Sweeney was charged with the theft and with being intoxicated in a public place as well as threatening and abusive behaviour. He was also charged in relation to the theft of a charity box, containing €30, at MacDonalds in Shop Street that same day. Gardai received a report on November 7 last at 2.20am of a man who was attempting to break into cars in the Bother Irwin area. The defendant was observed standing by the passenger window which had been broken, causing €758 worth of damage, and a bag next to him which contained items including jump leads and car wrench, valued at €300, which had been stolen from the vehicle.
Defence solicitor Sarah O’Dowd said that her client apologises for his actions and that he has taken certain steps to deal with his issues. In relation to the road traffic matters Ms O’Dowd said that Sweeney did make a full and voluntary statement to gardai and that he had just bought the car a few days before.
Inspector Coppinger then informed the court that Sweeney has 15 previous convictions including sentences for theft, assault, and a four year disqualification for driving without insurance as well as drink driving.
“It’s a miracle that these people were not killed,” said Judge Mary Fahy to which Ms O’Dowd explained that Sweeney left the scene because he had panicked but that when he heard a woman and a young person had been hurt he told his mother to ring the gardai.
“That’s to his credit but he should not have been in the car,” said Judge Fahy before imposing the sentence and granting leave to appeal.