Drug driver off road for eight years
A MAN found slumped in a car that was stationary in the middle of a rural road with the engine running was put off the road for eight years at Listowel District Court on Thursday.
John Foley, Fourhane, Listowel, was arrested on November 22, 2017, after gardaí came upon him in the vehicle at Rathea outside Listowel at 3.40am. Sgt Kieran O’Connell told Judge David Waters that when asked for his driving licence at the scene his ‘response was vague to say the least’, eventually telling gardaí he didn’t have one.
Gardaí said there was a ‘strong smell of cannabis’ and that they effected his arrest after forming the suspicion he had consumed an intoxicant and was consequently incapable of driving. A cannabis ‘joint’ with a street value of €15 was discovered in the vehicle.
Mr Foley, who pleaded guilty to the charges of unlawful possession of cannabis; driving under the influence of an intoxicant and driving without insurance, had been disqualified from driving at the time of the offence, it emerged in court.
The court heard he had been put off the road, for driving without insurance, at Listowel District Court on October 6 , 2017; and had received an earlier disqualification from driving for the same offence at the same court on September 5 of 2012.
Judge Waters remarked on the ‘criminal’ nature of driving ‘for a third time when you have been told not to drive.’
Solicitor Michael Lane said his client understood the ‘enormity’ of his actions, but urged the Court not to impose a custodial sentence saying his client is currently making good progress in getting his life back on track with the help of counselling to address his underlying substance abuse issues.
He said his client had suffered a lot of difficulties in his life, including the recent death of his father and that he was a ‘quiet person... not a blackguard by any means’.
He was given a two-month suspended sentence and fined €200 for driving while disqualified; disqualified for four years and fined €200 for driving without insurance and disqualified for four years and fined €200 for driving under the influence of an intoxicant; and fined a further €200 for the unlawful possession of cannabis contrary to the provisions of section three of the Misuse of Drugs Act.