27 Sept 2022

Judge tells banned Longford driver: ‘I hope you brought your toothbrush’

Judge tells banned Longford driver: ‘I hope you brought your toothbrush’

A Lithuanian man who had hoped to return to work hours after appearing in court last week charged with being at the wheel while disqualified was told by a judge: “I hope you brought your toothbrush”

Aurimas Valavicius, of 26 Abhainn Glas, Edgeworthstown, Co Longford was only seven months into a ten year driving disqualification when he produced a false driver's licence to Garda Robert Charmin at Pound Street, Edgeworthstown, Co Longford on October 5 2020.

Garda Charmin said he pulled in the accused behind the wheel of a seven series BMW before asking him for his driver's licence.

The court was told Mr Valavicius handed over a Lithuanian based document which Garda Charmin explained immediately arose suspicion.

“The licence was missing a mumber of security features,” he said.

That prompted Garda Charmin to carry out further enquiries into both its authenticity and the driver's identity upon which it was discovered Mr Valavicius had been banned from driving previously.

Garda Charmin said the vehicle Mr Valavicius was driving was also impounded.

Asked by presiding Judge Marie Keane as to the accused man's background, Garda Charmin said Mr Valavicius had 21 previous convictions to his name, a number of which were for road traffic related offences.

These included a ten year driving ban in February last year for no insurance and a further six year disqualification the following month for the same offence.

In defence, solicitor Frank Gearty admitted to having been left bemused as to his client's erratic motoring behaviour which paled in comparison to his conduct as a taxpaying member of the public.

“There seems to be a whole series of road traffic offences and suspended sentences,” he said, in reference to his client's criminal past.

“It definitely is a very frustrating case.”

Mr Gearty said Mr Valavicius' “ propensity to drive and disregard court orders” was in stark contrast to a man who upheld a strong work eithic.

He said Valavicius was even focused on returning to work at local meat factory Green Farm Foods after last Tuesday's court sitting, something Judge Keane quickly shot down.

“Well, I hope he brought his toothbrush,” she told Mr Gearty in response.

The long serving local solicitor said his client was a father of two children, both of whom are under the age of ten.

In a last ditch attempt to spare his client from a possible custodial sentence, Mr Gearty told of how Mr Valavicius had naievely obtained the false licence.

“No excuse is being offered,” Mr Gearty said in terms of Mr Valavicius' decision to get behind the wheel of a car on the day of the incident.

“He purchased the licence from a man in a pub in Dublin and it was missing very clear numbers.”

Judge Keane was not of a mind to take on boad those assertions as she once again called into question the actions of the accused.

“He (Mr Valavicius) seems to have gone back to the same pub to get the same document,” she said, when referencing one of the defendant's previous convictions for providing false details to gardaí.

“He has habitually driven without insuarance.”

Mr Gearty agreed and repeated his own irritation at his client's choice of etiquette which led up to his latest summons being issued against him.

“It's frustrating to see a taxpaying person who is compliant in so many other ways and yet you have this weak point,” he said in connection to Mr Valavicius' previous road traffic indiscretions.

“Rarely am I speechless, but I would plead withthe court to perhaps consider a suspended sentence and maybe allow him time to come back into court,” Mr Gearty added, in also suggesting a possible heft fine for his client.

Judge Keane said while Mr Gearty's efforts were well placed and eloquently delivered. she had no option but to hand down a prison sentence to Mr Valavicius.

“I have to protect the people on our streets,” she told the court.

“This man is engaging in deliberate fraud in relation to insurance and he has no respect for the law.”

She consequently sentenced Mr Valavicius to four months in prison.

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