A man who appeared before Longford District Court last week charged under the Road Traffic Act was disqualified from driving for six years and sentenced to six months in prison which the judge suspended following a full hearing into the matter.
He was also further charged with driving without insurance and having no driving licence at Cloonfiugh, Killashee, Co Longford on February 23, 2017.
Outlining the evidence to the court, Garda Denise Dockery said that on November 13, 2016 she received a complaint in relation to two males sitting in a car and drinking along Longford town’s Dublin Street.
Garda Dockery said she went to the area and after observing the two males in the car, approached them and spoke to them.
“There was no tax disc and there was also an invalid insurance disc,” she added, before pointing to the fact that the males informed her that Mr Munnelly was the driver of the vehicle.
“The two males were associates of Mr Munnelly’s and he then came on the scene; when I spoke to him, he admitted being the owner of the vehicle.
“I demanded production of his driving licence and insurance - the driving licence was produced, but the insurance he produced wasn’t valid for the car.
“The insurance disc on the car was from a previous vehicle he was the owner of and that vehicle had been seized by gardaí.”
Meanwhile, the court heard that when Garda Dockery examined the car in more detail on the day, she discovered a bald tyre on the front of the vehicle.
“Mr Munnelly had the keys of the car in his possession and he handed them over to me,” the Garda said.
In his direct evidence to the court, Mr Munnelly said that he had been in the pub drinking when his friends called him to come to Dublin Street.
“I had been in town from the night before; I owned the car but I had only recently bought it,” he added.
“I had no insurance on the car.”
The defendant then made reference to the charges brought against him on February 23, 2017.
“I had been involved in an accident that night; the insurance company sent out the documents that were needed, as far as I know,” Mr Munnelly told Judge Hughes, before adding that he had recently moved back in with his mother.
“I own my own house - I got compensation from an accident and I bought the house, but I have it rented out now.”
The court then heard that the defendant had 53 previous convictions.
In mitigation, the defendant’s solicitor Frank Gearty said his client had a serious alcohol problem.
“He went to get treatment, didn’t set his affairs in order before doing so, and there was a bench warrant in existence when he came out of treatment,” Mr Gearty added before pointing out that his client was not the driver of the car on the day Garda Dockery spoke to him on Dublin Street.
“He is now disqualified from driving for two years since June and is continuing with treatment in Cuan Mhuire from next week.”
Meanwhile, Mr Gearty went on to say that his client had worked “very hard” in the past, despite his alcohol difficulties.
“I would ask you to consider not sending him to prison today - he needs a chance to go to Cuan Mhuire and get himself sorted out.”
During his ruling on the matter Judge Hughes said that while he acknowledged the defendant had problems, if he was ever caught driving again, the Judge would send him to prison.
The defendant was subsequently disqualified from driving for six years; fined €500 on two of charges before the court; fined €250 for driving without a driving licence, and sentenced to six months in prison which the Judge suspended for three years.
“Don’t be caught driving again,” Judge Hughes told the defendant before bringing matters to a conclusion.