Uninsured driver 'confused' as father always looks after it
A newly married man caught driving without insurance was "quite confused about it because his insurance had always been arranged by his father and grandfather", a court heard.
Patrick Stokes (20) had an insurance policy but he did not know he wasn't insured to drive the vehicle he was in.
His solicitor said Stokes has poor literacy skills and his insurance had always been organised by his family.
Judge Dermot Dempsey ordered Stokes to complete 240 hours' community service in lieu of two months in prison, fined him €800 and disqualified him from driving for four years.
The defendant admitted before Swords District Court to driving without insurance at Main Street in Donabate on December 1, 2015.
Garda Stephen Harte said he was on mobile patrol shortly before 11pm when he stopped Stokes driving a white Caddy van.
Gda Harte said Stokes was "acting suspiciously" and when he was questioned about the ownership of the van he was "vague and standoffish".
Gda Harte said the van had a Northern Ireland registration number, but there was an Irish insurance certificate on the vehicle.
The garda said he made enquiries back at the station and he discovered the wrong registration was on the van, which belonged to the defendant's father.
Stokes also admitted to making off without paying for a meal, worth €154, at the Plaza Chinese Restaurant in Swords on November 8, 2015.
He had €170 compensation in court for the restaurant.
The court heard the defendant, of Oakgate, Navan Road in Kentstown, Co Meath, has a previous no-insurance conviction, which he received a month prior to this incident.
Ms D'Arcy said the defendant thought his insurance "was all sorted out" after the first incident.
Ms D'Arcy said that Stokes' father works in the motor industry, doing up and selling old cars.
She accepted there was an "element of immaturity" in Stokes' behaviour.
Ms D'Arcy asked the judge not to jail Stokes, and said he is newly married, and has a young son, who has a hole in his heart as well as dietary problems.
The solicitor said the defendant's wife was with him in the van when he was stopped.
Ms D'Arcy also said Stokes had "learnt his lesson".