Saturday, August 08, 2020

A horse breeder who drove without insurance because he incorrectly thought his driving ban had expired has been described as “reckless”.

Alex Keane (28), of 16 Larkfield Gardens, Kimmage, Dublin 12 pleaded guilty at Ballina District Court to driving without insurance and a driving licence at Heathfield, Ballycastle on November 10, 2019.

The court heard that Keane stopped gardaí on the road to talk to them about another matter when they discovered his vehicle wasn’t insured.

In evidence, the defendant said the vehicle belonged to his mother and he understood it was insured.

His mother had requested her insurance company to extend cover to everyone over 25 years of age on October 25, 2019, and documentation to that effect was handed into court.

But the defendant has a number of previous convictions for driving without insurance and had been disqualified from driving for four years on October 24, 2017.

Judge Fiona Lydon imposed a four-month prison sentence and a six-year driving disqualification.

Keane told Judge Fiona Lydon he was under the impression he had only been banned for two years. He was told at his local Garda station in Ballycastle that his ban was expiring on October 23, 2019, he had a valid UK driver’s licence and understood he could drive.

“I was sure I had a two-year ban, not four years.”

Solicitor Catherine Burke said her client, who had a troubled background, is married with two children and is the sole earner in the house. He appreciated he was at risk of a custodial sentence because of his list of previous convictions but was asking for a chance.

Judge Lydon said it was Keane’s responsibility “to determine definitively his insurance status before he drove”. He was in court on the day he was disqualified and he could have contacted the “formidable solicitor” who was representing him to be sure if he could drive.

“To take to the road without being 100 per cent sure was reckless.”

Judge Lydon imposed a four-month prison sentence and disqualified Keane from driving for six years.

Recognisances were fixed in the event of an appeal.

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