Old reports only thing between man and 11-month sentence

The Westmeath man convicted last year of having illegal sex with his underage girlfriend may yet face jail after pleading guilty to road traffic offences whilst on a suspended sentence for this.

Jason Higgins (20 ), The Square, Castlepollard pleaded guilty to road traffic offences at Raithín on February 21 this year, just a month after he was given the 11-month suspended sentence, and now risks having that suspended sentence imposed.

The driving offences involved taking a car and driving it while drunk and without insurance in June of last year. The incident saw him return a breath alcohol level of 61mg/100ml.

Judge Eamon O’Brien noted that Mr Higgins had been given a chance by Judge Neilan when the sexual offence came before the court in January for sentencing. He had pleaded guilty in October of the previous year.

Mr Louis Kiernan told the judge that the case had been heard “at some length” by Judge Neilan and said a “comprehensive psychiatric background” had been outlined to the court at the time and Mr Higgins had not contested the case.

He said his client is now living in a hostel and is staying away from drugs and alcohol and his family were with him in court.

Judge O’Brien noted the plea to the new charge and asked that the older reports be sent to whatever judge will be sitting in Mullingar on October 8 so he will have time to read them before sentencing.

He was also given 100 hours community service for a number of offences which were committed before he appeared in court on the charge of defiling the girl who was almost 17 at the time.

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