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09 Aug 2022

Longford man hit with ten year driving ban after being caught with no insurance for seventh time

Longford Courthouse.

A man has been banned from driving for ten years and imprisoned for three months after picking up his seventh conviction for no insurance

A man has been banned from driving for ten years and imprisoned for three months after picking up his seventh conviction for no insurance.

 

Bernard Power (42), Crystal Manor, Shroid, Dublin Road, Longford lodged an appeal however following his conviction by Judge Bernadette Owens at a sitting of Longford District Court last week.

That came after Mr Power pleaded guilty to being found at the wheel without insurance and of having no driving licence following an incident at Toneywarden, Granard, Co Longford on December 3, 2021.

The court heard Mr Power should not have been behind the wheel after being disqualified from driving at a court sitting in Waterford in 2019 which resulted in a four year ban being imposed.

Sgt Enda Daly said Mr Power had initially been brought to Granard garda station on the day in question with the vehicle he had been driving also being seized.

The State’s court presenter also revealed Mr Power had 27 previous convictions, six of which were for no insurance.

In mitigation, defence solicitor Diarmuid Quinn said there were a number of underlying factors as to his client’s decision to get behind the wheel on the day of the incident.

One of those was the fact his wife, who has been battling serious illness, had broken down on the side of a busy road in north Longford resulting in the 42-year-old rushing to his wife’s aid.

The other, he revealed, was fears surrounding his own safety which has seen Mr Power come under duress from undisclosed third parties.

“On a couple of those (previous) occasions (convictions) particularly in Dublin, it was mentioned in court previously that his wife was very unwell and has thyroid cancer,” said Mr Quinn. 

“Mr Power had been bringing her up to St James’s Hospital in Dublin. In this case, as gardaí are aware there have been threats made against Mr Power, credible threats and in circumstances where his wife broke down on the side of the road essentially between Granard and Edgeworthstown stranded, and out of concern he got in the car without thinking and sped off to try and come to her aid.”

Mr Quinn said his client was full of remorse over being caught driving without insurance yet again, insisting it was an episode he knew was wrong.

“He wasn’t thinking and made a mistake,” he said. 

“He deeply regrets it, it was a spur of the moment thing and out of concern for his wife he got in the car, went to her aid and he sincerely regrets it.”

Judge Owens said despite Mr Power’s personal difficulties, she found it difficult to fathom how an individual with half a dozen previous indiscretions for no insurance could resort to getting behind the wheel of a car without being fully cognisant of the potential repercussions that awaited.

“I appreciate Mr Power’s wife was ill and while I appreciate how it was put to me that he just didn’t think, I find it strange how a man who at this time had six previous convictions (for no insurance) didn’t think he was disqualified from driving,” she said.

Given those circumstances, she said she had been left with no option but to impose a custodial sentence on Mr Power.

She sentenced him to three months in jail with recognisances of €250 being fixed in the event of an appeal.

Mr Power was also ordered not to drive a motor vehicle during the course of any pending appeal being heard at Circuit Court level.

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