A YOUNG man who was caught driving while disqualified on three separate occasions over the past year was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment and banned from driving for 12 years.
During a sentencing hearing, Limerick District Court was told that Andrew Kearney, aged 22, of Shannonvale, Old Cratloe Road was disqualified from driving for two years on October 21, 2013 after he pleaded guilty to driving without insurance.
This week, Garda Tony Miniter of the divisional traffic corps said he stopped the defendant while driving at Dominic Street on December 9, 2013; Clancy Strand on October 9, last and at Byrne Avenue on October 16, last.
On each occasion, he said, the defendant was not insured and did not have a driving licence.
In addition, Mr Kearney was also almost three times the legal alcohol limit when stopped at Byrne Avenue last week.
Solicitor John Devane said his client, who has a young family, has had a “very difficult and traumatic life” and suffers from addiction problems.
He said Mr Kearney wishes to apologise for his actions adding that he “appears to have learned a salutary lesson” having spend a number of days in prison before the sentencing hearing.
“He doesn’t like prison and prison doesn’t like him,” he said adding that Mr Kearney didn’t get on with other prisoners while in custody.
In response, Judge Eugene O’Kelly commented the defendant had not learned any lesson and that he had persistently driven despite knowing he was disqualified.
“It’s as bad a case of any young person ignoring a disqualification as I have recently seen,” he said.
Despite Mr Devane’s pleas for a non-custodial sentence, the judge said Mr Kearney would have to “get used to prisoners because he is going to be spending considerable time in their company”.
He imposed a five month prison sentence in relation to each of the offences ordering that they be served consecutively to each other.
In addition, he disqualified the defendant from driving for a total of twelve years.
Separately, the judge imposed a nine month suspended sentence in relation to unrelated theft offences.
Sergeant Donal Cronin said the defendant was arrested while carrying a 32-inch plasma television in Caherconlish in the early hours of September 15, 2013.
He said the television and a number of mobile phones had been stolen from a house in the village where a party had taken place earlier in the night.
Mr Devane said his client, who had been invited to the house party, did not have an explanation for his actions describing the offence as an “act of monumental stupidity”.
Leave to appeal the severity of the sentences imposed in relation to both matters was granted.