Thursday 18 January 2018

Granny serving 15-year driving ban caught behind wheel with open can of beer

Stock picture
Stock picture

Nicola Donnelly

A GRANDMOTHER who was caught driving without insurance while subject to a 15-year ban had an open can of Budweiser in a cup holder, a court has heard.

Sandra Cassidy, who has 47 previous convictions – 20 of them for road traffic offences – and received nine previous driving bans, claimed she drove the car only because her daughter needed her help following an assault.

The 56-year-old was handed a 20-year ban and sentenced to four months in prison after Judge Dermot Dempsey said he “can’t allow her back on the road”.

Cassidy told the judge she had “no intention of getting in trouble again” and was “really sorry”.

Cassidy, of Barnwall Crescent in Donabate, Co Dublin, pleaded guilty to driving without insurance and a driving licence on November 17, 2015 at Turvey Avenue in Donabate.

She was stopped at a checkpoint where Garda Mark Richardson saw the open can of Budweiser. He said about one to two mouthfuls of beer had been taken from the can.


He said the only disc displayed on the car was an expired NCT disc and he discovered Cassidy was driving while disqualified for 15 years after being banned in January 2014.

Defence solicitor Fiona D’Arcy said her client was on her way to her daughter’s house to help her after she was assaulted.

“Because of her own ill health she couldn’t get public transport so drove the car,” she said. “She accepts her previous record is not good and she knows she is in trouble today, but extreme circumstances led her to drive. She has no intention of getting in trouble again.”

Addressing the court, Cassidy said: “I have bi-polar and I was drinking to self-medicate but I don’t drink any more.

“My partner bought the car and it was sitting in the driveway as he broke his shoulder and couldn’t drive. By chance the car was there and I got into it.”

She added: “I promise I won’t get in trouble again and I wouldn’t blame you putting me away today.

“It was a panicky situation at the time, my daughter has a young child and needed my help.”


Judge Dempsey said “all avenues are already exhausted” for the defendant as she had received a number of suspended sentences and driving disqualifications.

“But the disqualification doesn’t seem to have an effect on her,” he added, handing her the four-month sentence and imposing a 20-year ban. He fixed recognisances in the event of an appeal.


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