A 23-year-old man, with 49 previous convictions, was given an 11 month suspended sentence at Galway District Court this week for the unauthorised taking of a vehicle.
Presiding District Court judge Mary Fahy stressed that it had not been her intention to show such leniency to a defendant who clearly had a history of offending but that the system in place prevented her from imposing a custodial sentence. Jamie Bailey of 1 Rossa Avenue, Mulgrave, Limerick, is currently serving 25 months in jail for a seperate offence, the maximum that can be imposed at district court level.
Bailey appeared in court on Monday charged with unauthorised taking of an MPV at Parkmore on August 22, 2012, and failing to appear in court on July 13, 2012.
Inspector Brendan Carroll told the court that on August 22 last Garda Aidan Murphy and Garda Michael Dwyer received information regarding a possible stolen car at the Headford Road area. Following a long pursuit involving a number of dangerous driving incidents the car came to a halt and was abandoned. The defendant, who was a passenger in the car, was seen attempting to flee the scene.
Defence solicitor Adrian MacLynn said that his client, a father of three, had been taking substances at the time and has problems with alcohol.
Inspector Carroll then explained that Bailey has 49 previous convictions which included jail sentences for burglary, theft, tresspassing and several counts of criminal damage imposed in September of this year and which he is now serving. He was also convicted of public order and road traffic offences in the same month.
“That is a sorry tale,” noted Judge Fahy, before adding: “He has already got the maximum that can be imposed in the District Court. I can’t make an order on top of that. Had the DPP gone for indictment he could have got more. It is a very very serious charge. I’m not giving him a suspended sentence because I want to show leniency. I can’t add to his sentence because of the system,” said Judge Fahy, before convicting Bailey, and imposed an 11 month sentence suspended for three years on condition that he enter into a bond of €500 to be of good behaviour and stay away from Galway city and county for that period. Bailey was also disqualified from driving for five years.