Thursday 14 December 2017

Driver had open can of beer in car

A woman who was caught driving without insurance while she was under a 15 year driving ban had an open can of Budweiser beer in a cup holder, a court has heard.

Sandra Cassidy, who has 47 previous convictions - 20 of which are for road traffic offences, claimed she only drove the car as her daughter needed her help following an assault.

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

Cassidy, of Barnwall Crescent in Donabate pleaded guilty to driving without insurance and driving without 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. This ban was handed to her in January 2014.

Defence solicitor Fiona D'Arcy said the 56-year-old 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,' explained Ms D'Arcy.

'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 she is 'really sorry.' 'I have bi-polar and I drank to self-medicate but I don't drink anymore,' said Cassidy. '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. 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 needed my help.'

Judge Dempsey noted 'all avenues are already exhausted' as Cassidy has received a number of suspended sentences and driving disqualifications. 'But the disqualification doesn't seem to have an effect on her.' He fixed recognisances in the event of an appeal.

Fingal Independent

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