A man who appeared at a recent sitting of Longford Circuit Court appealing the severity of a five month prison sentence handed down in the district court earlier this year had the sentence reduced to three months following a hearing into the matter.
Sebastian Kasprzyk (31), 18 Dun Darrach, Dublin Road, Longford appeared before Judge Keenan Johnson convicted of driving while over the legal limit of alcohol; driving without insurance and having no tax on his car at Aughafin, Edgeworthstown, Co Longford on March 5, 2017.
Outlining the case to the court, State solicitor Mark Connellan said that the defendant had been convicted in respect of the charges before Judge Seamus Hughes at Longford District Court on May 19, 2017.
The court was told that the defendant received a 15 year driving ban and was also sentenced to five months in prison.
The court then heard that on March 5 last at approximately 2:25am, gardaí were on mobile patrol in the Aughafin area of Edgeworthstown when they observed the defendant “driving erratically”.
“The gardaí followed the car and observed it driving across the white line as well as over and back across the road,” added Mr Connellan, before pointing out that when gardaí eventually stopped the defendant, he drove off at 140 km/h just as the members of the force approached him.
“He continued to drive at speed, but gardaí eventually caught him and when they spoke to Mr Kasprzyk they detected a strong smell of alcohol from him.
“His eyes were bloodshot and he was slurring his words.”
Meanwhile, the court heard that the defendant later provided a breath sample and a test indicated a reading of 85 mg/alcohol per 100 ml/breath.
The court was also told that the defendant held a number of previous convictions and had been disqualified from driving for five years back in 2015.
In mitigation, the defendant’s solicitor Frank Gearty said his client had pleaded guilty to the offences before Judge Johnson at the earliest possible opportunity and felt he had made his peace with the court.
“In the months since this incident, Mr Kasprzyk has abstained from alcohol altogether,” continued Mr Gearty, before pointing to the fact that the defendant and his partner had been having “difficulties” when the incident happened.
“Unfortunately, he left the house with drink on him, drove to Cavan where he drank more alcohol and then drove back.”
The local solicitor went on to say, that, in an effort to give his client some credit, Mr Kasprzyk’s partner had a child from a previous relationship and she was adamant that the defendant was a wonderful influence in this child’s life.
“He acknowledges that he has an appalling record and his actions on this particular occasion were unforgivable,” Mr Gearty continued before adding that his client had brought with him €1,000 by way of recompense, which was available to the disposal of the court.
“He did cooperate with gardaí eventually and acknowledges that he does have an alcohol problem.”
Judge Johnson was then told that the defendant was employed at a factory in Finea and a letter from his employer was subsequently handed into the court.
During his ruling on the matter, Judge Johnson said that the case before him was “very sad”.
“Mr Kasprzyk, you have a terrible history and I have an obligation to send out a clear message that when people drink and drive there are consequences,” the Judge continued.
“I don’t think that I should interfere in any way with the ruling of the district court in relation to this case.”
Judge Johnson went on to say that while he appreciated that Mr Gearty’s client “had turned a corner”, he did not see any way around the matter without interfering with the order of the district court - something, he added, that he did not want to do.
“If I felt there was a viable way around this and one that would not undermine the court process, I would use it,” added Judge Johnson.
“But this man has run out of road I am afraid.”
The Judge subsequently reduced the defendant’s prison sentence to three months but left the remaining order of the district court in place.
“It’s the best that I can do,” Judge Johnson conceded.