Wednesday 29 January 2020

'If he puts lives in danger for a fifth time I will jail him' - judge says of drunk driver

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A DISTRICT Court judge warned a Listowel man he will jail him if he comes before the court for drunken driving for a fifth time.

Donald Mahoney of 4 Stoker’s Drive, Listowel, appeared before Judge David Waters at Thursday’s district court sitting in the town where he pleaded guilty to drunken driving, and driving without due care and attention. The charges arose from an incident in which he crashed into a roundabout on the John B Keane Road at roughly 2am on January 21 last.

Judge Waters heard Mr Mahoney had three previous convictions for drunken driving, the most recent of which came at Listowel District Court on February 1 last – little more than ten days after the roundabout crash.

He had also been put off the road for ten years at the same court on June 12 of 2008; but this was brought back to six years and Mr Mahoney ‘served’ four years of the disqualification period in total.

Mr Mahoney was found to have alcohol to the level of 89 mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath following the January 21 crash on the John B Keane Road roundabout.

“The offence happened eight or nine days before he was actually before the court for drunken driving,” Judge Waters noted.

Solicitor Louis McDonough explained to the court that the incident was less a crash, rather that his client’s car veered onto the central paved area of the particular roundabout. He also said that the February conviction for drunken driving arose from a ‘night before situation’.

“My view is that there is no such thing,” Judge Waters said.

“If somebody is caught drunken driving at 8 or 9 in the morning and had been drinking til midnight my belief is that they will not be over the limit...but if you’re drinking until two or three in the morning, that is drinking the same morning,” Judge Waters remarked.

Mr McDonough said it had been a foolish decision by his client to drive on the date in question, and said the matter would affect his livelihood as a sought-after welder and fabricator; "He is aware he is looking down the barrel of a disqualification.”

“He is looking at more than that,” Judge Waters replied, adding: “This man is out of control... clearly the penalty is not working for him...he is not learning from three previous occasions having even got the chance to get his licence back early...If he had killed somebody, which could have easily happened, everybody would be asking why he got his licence back.”

Judge Waters imposed a three-month sentence, suspended for one year, and put Mr Mahoney off the road for eight years.


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