Saturday 1 November 2014

Dublin man (21) sentenced for three and half years after crashing stolen car into pub wall in high speed garda chase

Fiona Ferguson

Published 07/07/2014 | 17:38

Judge Mary Ellen Ring
Judge Mary Ellen Ring passed sentence

A Dublin youth whose dangerous driving during a high speed garda chase ended with the stolen car he was driving embedded in a pub wall has been given a three and a half year sentence.

Andrew Macken (21), who has been banned from driving on three previous occasions for periods of five, eight and ten years, was almost twice over the legal alcohol limit when arrested.

Macken, of Forth Road, East Wall, pleaded guilty to criminal damage to the Botanic House Pub and a BMW, unlawful use of the car as well as dangerous driving, drunk driving and driving without insurance at Botanic Road and Iona Road, Dublin 9 on November 8, 2013.

He has 61 previous convictions with 12 for unlawful taking of a car and the remainder mainly for road traffic offences.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court noted it was a “densely residential area” and it was fortunate that it was 5am and there were few vehicles and pedestrians on the street.

“That does not take from the seriousness, dangerousness and potential consequences” said Judge Ring

She said Macken “clearly had to grow up” but noted he has used his time in custody to work on his drug issues and that a probation report seemed to “hold out some hope.”

Judge Ring imposed a three and a half year sentence with the final year suspended and banned Macken from driving for six years.

Garda Paul Martin told Gerardine Small BL, prosecuting, that at 5am that morning he was on routine patrol when he saw a BMW that had earlier been reported as stolen.

He indicated for the car to stop but instead it gathered speed and failed to stop at a junction, travelling at speeds in excess of 120kmph.

It travelled onto Iona Road and over a roundabout at high speed nearly losing control and driving on the wrong side of the round. The car failed to slow at a pedestrian crossing before hitting a speed bump and narrowly missing a cyclist and other road users.

The car approached a T- junction without slowing and crossed three lines of traffic before ploughing into the smoking area of Botanic House Pub. The car came to a stop embedded in the wall of the pub.

Macken, the sole occupant of the car, got out and was arrested. He told gardai he had been “street drinking” and had taken drugs.

The car, valued at €4,000, was written off and repairs to the pub cost €3,500.

Aoife O’Leary BL, defending, said Macken was abusing alcohol and benzodiazepine at the time. She said she is instructed he is now clean of drugs.

She said he has tried to use his time in custody wisely and has completed a relapse prevention program. She said he hopes to have a future which does not involve crime and is willing to work with the Probation Service.

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