14 Aug 2022

Longford Circuit Court: Suspended prison sentence for 'very bad case of dangerous driving'

A man who appeared at Longford Circuit Court this week appealing the severity of a three month prison sentence handed down to him in the district court earlier this year after he was convicted under the Road Traffic Act, secured a suspended jail term following a hearing into the matter.

Tomasz Salamacha, Clonturk, Athlone Road, Stonepark, Longford appeared before Judge Keenan Johnson convicted of driving without insurance at Farneyhoogan, Longford on July 24, 2017. He was also further convicted of dangerous driving on the same date.

Outlining the evidence to the court, State solicitor Mark Connellan said that the matter before Judge Johnson arose as a result of a road traffic accident close to Slashers GAA complex on the outskirts of Longford town.

Mr Connellan also pointed out that it was approximately 6pm on the day when Garda Maher attended the scene.
“Upon arrival, the Garda observed a car on its side,” he added.

“The accident happened because the defendant was driving at speed.”

Meanwhile, the court heard that Mr Salamacha attempted to pass out a vehicle at speed on the date of the incident and while doing so collided with the bumper.

“His car subsequently hit a wall, bounced off it and rolled a number of times before coming to a stop on the road,” Mr Connellan continued.
“Before the vehicle came to a standstill, a number of items were strewn from the car including a baby chair.”
The court then heard that by the time gardaí arrived at the scene Mr Salamacha was already being attended to by ambulance personnel.

“He was asked for a breath specimen but because of his injuries was unable to provide one.”

Counsel for the defendant then pointed out to the court that while his client did not in any way want to take from the seriousness of the offence, Mr Salamacha had cooperated fully with the Gardaí in respect of the matter, was very apologetic and had pleaded guilty in the district court.

“Mr Salamacha is 37-years-old; his partner is 35 and they have a one and a half year old child,” she added.
“His 17-year-old stepson also lives with them and the reality is that his family need him to work.

“The rent has been increased on the family home and his partner who is only on social welfare can’t afford to pay the rent on her own.”

Counsel also said that it was important to point out to the court that her client did not refuse to provide a breath sample on the date in question but had simply been unable to provide one because of the severity of his injuries at the time.
Delivering his judgement in the case, Judge Johnson said that the matter before him was “a very bad case of dangerous driving”.

The Judge also pointed out that the case was compounded by the fact the defendant had no insurance either.
Judge Johnson subsequently increased the disqualification to six years.

He upheld the three month prison sentence imposed by the district court but suspended it for five years on the grounds the defendant keep the peace and be of good behavior.

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