A Longford man has been banned from driving for five years after being caught behind the wheel twice within the space of almost a year with no insurance.
Father of three, Suelmar Francisco, 33 Forthill, Aughnacliffe, Co Longford, pleaded guilty to two counts of no insurance in June 2021 and May 2022 at different locations in Longford town.
Sgt Enda Daly, for the State said his colleague Garda Denis Dockery had first come across the accused on June 12 2021 entering Longford's N4 Axis Centre.
Sgt Daly said Garda Dockery spoke with Mr Francisco who then produced a Portuguese driving licence with the name Sulemar Francisco.
He said upon closer inspection, Garda Dockery formed the view the licence produced was not genuine to a lack of distinguishable security features.
The document was later forwarded to the garda handwriting section for analysis, the results of which confirming the license to be false.
The court heard how the following May, Garda Dockery was again on patrol when she spotted the defendant drive along the Clonrollagh area of Longford town shortly after 6pm.
He said the garda noticed how there was no current NCT displayed on the vehicle before speaking with the driver.
He told of how Garda Dockery had been aware he was not the holder of a driving license and was therefore not the holder of a valid insurance policy, resulting in his arrest and transferral to Longford garda station where he was charged.
In defence, solicitor Bríd Mimnagh said despite there being no current NCT being displayed, a date for a test was booked at the time Mr Francisco was stopped.
She said the north Longford based man was not a person who deliberately set out to drive without insurance, but had rather “taken a chance” to try and provide for his family instead of trying to rely on State supports.
“He gained a job as a mechanic in or around Newtownforbes and he lives in Aughnacliffe and he has three children,” she said.
Ms Mimnagh added the false licence which was seized had been accrued while Mr Francisco was resident here.
She said had the document in question been genuine, Mr Francisco would have been covered to drive on both occasions.
“Unfortunately there wasn’t (insurance in place),” she said.
“He is a man who comes before the court with no previous convictions and he just took the chance as he had this job and it was either lose the job or rely on social welfare and he took the chance.”
The local solicitor added the accused was acceptive of the imminent personal difficulties he now faced in being able to hold onto his job.
“He now accepts he either has to move house to try and get accommodation which would be more expensive and practically impossible or try and get his employer to drive him 14 or 15 miles from Aughnacliffe to Newtownforbes,” she continued.
Ms Mimnagh tendered Mr Francisco’s regret over what had transpired, conceding her client was very much “at the mercy of the court”.
She added: “He wants to continue with his work and he knows he can’t drive and his employer is very supportive of him, saying he is a very good mechanic.”
The most aggravating factor here is Mr Francisco had been stopped on June 12 and less than a month later he is found driving the same car under the same situation with no insurance.
Judge Bernadette Owens said the most aggravating factor concerning the case was how Mr Francisco had been stopped twice with no insurance within such a short period of time.
She subsequently disqualified him from driving for five years for the first offence, fining him €400 in the process.
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