ONLY the “tragic personal circumstances” of a defendant prevented a judge from sending a Limerick man to prison for 10 months for motoring offences.
James Corbett, 46, of Beechgrove Avenue, Ballinacurra Weston, was disqualified from driving for 17 years for driving without insurance on July 14 last, a date on which he was already serving a 10-year road ban.
Mr Corbett pleaded guilty at Limerick District Court to a raft of traffic offences arising from that date and an earlier detection on May 25. He had been stopped by Sgt Gus Fox on the Dock Road in May and by Garda Philip Ellard on the Hyde Road on the July date.
Offences included driving without insurance, driving while disqualified and failure to produce documents.
Judge Eugene O’Kelly expressed incredulity at the fact that Mr Corbett had been detected in May for driving while disqualified and was stopped by Garda Ellard only two months later.
The accused, his solicitor Tom Kiely said, was on anti-depressants and sleeping tablets and was somebody who had “suffered a great deal of misfortune” in recent times. He outlined that Mr Corbett’s son had been murdered and this had been followed by the death of his father, the suicide of a nephew who had been close to his late son and then by another murder – that of the mother of his child.
Mr Corbett, who had a suspended six-month sentence for theft activated at Ennis Court last year, had been granted temporary release by the prison authorities six weeks into the sentence last November “as a result of the tragic events”, Mr Kiely said.
“He is 46 and knows himself he is too old to be getting into difficulties and going in and out of prison,” Mr Kiely said.
Judge O’Kelly said the court “has sympathy for him for the dreadful tragedies” but he could have been the cause of “dreadful circumstances” himself had he knocked anyone down when driving while disqualified.
He imposed two consecutive five-month sentences for driving without insurance on May 25 and July 14, which he suspended for two years. A 17-year driving disqualification was also imposed.
“But for those very tragic personal circumstances, I would not be suspending the sentences,” he concluded.