Longford man released early from prison tells court how he thought electronic tagging only happened ‘in movies’

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Longford Courthouse.

A Longford court heard last week who told of how he thought electronic tagging upon early release from prison only happened "in movies"

A Longford man has told a court he thought it “was only in movies” that defendants sent to jail and given early release were forced to wear electronic tags.

Wayne Figg, of Leitrim Cross, Newtownforbes, Co Longford made the admission at a recent sitting of Longford District Court after being charged with a number of road traffic offences.

The 26-year-old was charged with driving while disqualified at Mullolagher, Longford on April 2, 2020 and on dates unknown of being behind the wheel with no insurance and drink driving.

Presiding Judge Seamus Hughes was told Mr Figg had 27 previous convictions on his record, three of which related to no insurance with a further two stemming from drink driving.

It was revealed Mr Figg had received a four month prison sentence in April 2018 for no insurance alongside a ten year disqualification.

But it was only when Judge Hughes pressed the accused as to how long of that sentence he served did it emerge prison authorities had granted him early release subject to electronic tagging.

“I served two and a half months and wore an ankle bracelet for another four weeks,” he said, causing Judge Hughes to express his surprise over the move.

“I thought it was only in the movies,” Mr Figg replied, as he too looked somewhat surprised when the matter came in for debate.

Judge Hughes confided he had never come across such an incident in his time on the bench, something which he said was made more puzzling given it was administered on a person for road traffic related offences.

That said, Judge Hughes continued to question Mr Figg as to his actions on the day of the said incident.

“Can you explain to me why you would go out driving while disqualified?” Judge Hughes asked.

“Stupidity,” Mr Figg replied, as he looked up at the bench.

“It seems to me you have been stupid a good few times,” said Judge Hughes, in reference to Mr Figg’s criminal past.

In defence, solicitor John Quinn said Mr Figg was now back residing with his mother and his previous dependency on alcohol was very much in check.

Instead of handing down a judgement, however, Judge Hughes said he would prefer to “bide my time” and adjourned the case until November 3, 2020.

When the case does return, the court is expected to be furnished with a probation report prior to any sentence or conviction being handed down.