Longford District Court: Man didn't realise he was disqualified from driving

Defendant accumulated maximum penalty points

Longford Leader

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A man who appeared before Longford District Court last week charged under the Road Traffic Act was convicted and fined €250 following a hearing into the matter.

Francis Derwin, Auburn, Dublin Road, Athlone, Co Westmeath appeared before Judge Seamus Hughes charged with driving without insurance at Clogher, Tang, Co Westmeath on January 3, 2017.

Outlining the evidence to the court, Garda O’Mara said that on the date in question he was carrying out a routine check point when he stopped the defendant and discovered he was not insured to drive the vehicle in which he was travelling.

The defendant’s solicitor Frank Gearty said it was an accumulation of penalty points that led to his client’s disqualification from driving in the first instance, however Mr Derwin did not realise this at the time.

“This is why Mr Derwin’s insurance was not valid when the Gardaí stopped him,” added Mr Gearty.

“It is a matter of extraordinary regret on Mr Derwin’s part that this has happened, but he did not know that he was disqualified.

“He is very poor with paperwork and is dyslexic as well.”

Meanwhile, the court went on to hear that the defendant ran equestrian events all over the county and worked a 500 acre farm alongside his brother.

“He is caring for his daughter and two other children as his wife is not at home,” continued Mr Gearty.

“He is asking for you, judge, not to disqualify him - you have the option not to convict a person for having no insurance in special cases and I would suggest this is a special case in that my client is dyslexic.

During his ruling on the matter Judge Hughes said there was an onus on him to bring home the message that there are consequences for people who drive without insurance.

He did, however submit to Mr Gearty’s request not to disqualify the defendant, but ordered him to pay €2,000 to the court in recompense.

“I won’t disqualify you,” continued the Judge, “but I must record a conviction.

“This type of offence has increased exponentially in this county over the last couple of years.”

Judge Hughes also pointed out, before concluding matters, that a fine of €250 would be imposed on the defendant once the €2,000 was furnished to the court.