Cheque book could have saved drunk driver from jail, court hears

Man lodges appeal against seven month sentence

A young man, charged with drunk and dangerous driving, could have been saved from serving a seven month sentence if he had brought his cheque book to pay more than €5,000 worth of damage, the Galway District Court heard this week.

The 23-year-old, who had driven on the wrong side of the road narrowly avoiding a collision with a Garda patrol car before rear-ending another vehicle, later lodged an appeal.

Peter Lee with an address at Doon, Rosscahill, Galway, appeared before Judge Mary Fahy last Monday charged with drink driving, dangerous driving, failure to stop, and driving without insurance at Kilrainey, Moycullen, on February 27, 2009.

Inspector Ernie White told the court that at 9.45am gardai, en route to Galway, arrived in Moycullen village where they spotted a silver Honda, driven by the defendant, come around a bend and drive on the wrong side of the road. The patrol car had to take evasive action to avoid a collision. The dangerous driving continued until the defendant rear-ended another vehicle at Killrainey but then took off.

When apprehended by gardai Lee gave an alcohol reading of 72mgs per 100mls of breath, which is over twice the legal limit of 35mgs. The court heard that the defendant had been very co-operative after his arrest and that his insurance had ceased.

Lee’s solicitor said that the father of one had worked in construction but lost that work and is now working part-time in a city centre night-club.

The court then heard that €5,600 worth of damage had been caused to the vehicle that had been rear-ended and that repairs have been carried out. However Lee had not paid any compensation because he had not been contacted about it.

“This man was on the wrong side of the road with a huge level of alcohol and he did not have insurance. It’s most serious... The only way he could have avoided a custodial sentence is if he came in here with a cheque book,” said Judge Fahy.

For drink driving Lee was convicted and sentenced to four months in jail and disqualified for three years. A further three months consecutive sentence and a two year disqualification were imposed for the dangerous driving charge. A seven month sentence, to run concurrently, was imposed for the remaining offences. Lee later lodged an appeal.


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