A man who spent his
44th Birthday in Carn court yesterday received a
ten-month suspended prison term for the unauthorised
taking of a car in Moville.
John Gray, 3 Waterfront House, Pearse Road,
Letterkenny, pleaded guilty to the offence and to
having no insurance on January 7th, 2006.
The court heard that the Scots-born defendant, an
alcoholic with 45 previous convictions in Britain,
had been drinking in Moville on the date in
Around 4am, he came to the attention of Gardai who
took his car keys to prevent him driving. They then
had to attend to a 'more urgent' incident, the court
heard. Around 9.30am, Gray, walked into the unlocked
garage of Bill Bergin, Carnagarve, Moville and found
the keys in the ignition of a 1989 white Vauxhall
Astra. He drove off in the car intending to go to
Letterkenny, collect his spare keys and go back to
collect his own car.
Gardai later found the Astra written-off in Burt
after it collided with a crash barrier. The
defendant was arrested as he walked around the scene
of the accident.
Judge Desmond Zaidan remarked that he was a little
mature to be a 'joyrider' but gave him credit for
his guilty plea and the fact that he was honest with
the Probation and Welfare Services about his
previous convictions in Britain. He had no previous
convictions in the Republic of Ireland. He remarked
that the defendant, a single unemployed man, had
come from a 'dysfunctional family' affected by
alcohol abuse. He said he appreciated that the
defendant had made many efforts throughout the years
to stay sober but he said he also had a duty to
protect the public. Defence solicitor Patricia
Dorrian pleaded on her client's behalf saying his
licence was "essential to his sobriety".
The judge imposed a ten-month prison term, suspended
for two years on the defendant's own bond of €2,000
and on condition that he keep the peace and remain
under the supervision of the probation services for
18-months. He disqualified him from driving for five
years but suspended the ban on the same conditions.
He warned the defendant that if he committed even
the slightest offence in the intervening period, he
would be off the road and would serve the prison
term. He also ordered that €1,000 in compensation be
paid to Mr. Bergin and that a €1,000 donation be
given within six months to Our Lady's Hospital for
Sick Children in Dublin.