Saturday 22 July 2017

Uninsured driver 'panicked' and led gardai on high speed chase

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court (Stock photo)
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court (Stock photo)

Fiona Ferguson

An uninsured driver who led gardaí on a high speed chase because he “panicked” has avoided a custodial sentence.

Josh Redmond (20), who had no licence or insurance, had just purchased the car but was told by his mother to return it. He was on his way to do this when he encountered gardaí and “panicked.”

Redmond, of Dunedin Close, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to endangerment, dangerous driving and driving without insurance at locations in the Dun Laoghaire area on June 7, 2016. He has no previous convictions.

Judge Karen O'Connor said she considered it to be an aggravating factor that this had occurred in the early afternoon when roads and pavements tend to be busy. She told him his conduct had been “extremely dangerous” and he had put the public and gardai at risk.

Judge O'Connor told him he was very lucky to have a supportive family and a mother who was ensuring he stayed on the straight and narrow. She noted there was a positive probation report before the court.

She imposed an 18 month sentence which she suspended in full and disqualified him from driving for two years.

Garda Ian Cummins told Fionnuala O'Sullivan BL, prosecuting, that the Renault Megane driven by Redmond took off at speed after his patrol car drove behind it at Rochestown Park.

He said during the pursuit Redmond drove above 100 kilometres per hour on a road where there was a speed limit of 50kmph. The car overtook and “undertook” other vehicles in a dangerous manner and broke traffic lights.

Gda Cummins said a pedestrian had to jump out of the car's path and the patrol car was also forced to take evasion action to avoid being hit as the car was swerving from side to side.

He said the car came to a stop at Mackintosh Park estate after getting jammed between poles designed to stop vehicles from crossing a bridge.

Redmond was arrested following a foot chase and told gardai: “I am sorry, I panicked.” He admitted he did not have a driving licence or insurance.

Barry Ward BL, defending, said Redmond had bought the car that evening but had been told by his mother to return it to its previous owner. He said he was on his way to do this when he encountered the gardai and “panicked.”

He said Redmond was working and had a supportive family environment. He said this appeared to be a “step out from normal behaviour.”

He said his client was not an experienced driver and had shown a “staggering lack of judgement.”

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