An Angolan refugee who was caught driving while disqualified was sentenced to a total of 56 days in prison at Ballyhaunis District Court this week. Sgt Kieran McNicholas told the court that at 2.40am on September 10 2011 he was on duty on Clare Street, Ballyhaunis, when he saw a car come on to the street at speed and continue on through the town. He set off in pursuit of the car and pulled it over at Abbey Street. The car was being driven by Franciso Salvador, 14 Old Convent, Ballyhaunis. He demanded the production of Salvador’s licence and insurance within 10 days which he failed to do. Following up on the investigation, Sgt McNicholas discovered that Francisco was serving a driving ban when he stopped him.
Solicitor for Francisco, Mr Evan O’Dwyer told the court that his client was an Angolan national who has been in Ireland for the past five years and is currently seeking refugee status. He told the court that his client was just collecting the car which was normally driven by his wife from down the town as she had to leave it in the town earlier after she felt ill, and he was only moving it back to the safety of where they lived. However Sgt McNicholas told the court that Francisco told him on the night he had been visiting friends.
Judge Mary Devins convicted and fined Francisco €500 for driving while disqualified, disqualified him from driving for six years and sentenced him to 28 days in prison. For driving without insurance she convicted and fined him €500 and disqualified him from driving for six years consecutive and sentenced him to 28 days in prison consecutive.