The court heard the man accelerated at speed and was pursued through Garryowen where he drove on the wrong side of the road
A LIMERICK motorist who narrowly missed a pedestrian during a high speed pursuit will avoid a prison sentence if he completes 180 hours of community service.
Patrick O’Donoghue, aged 31, who has an address at Rhebogue Halting Site, Dublin Road pleaded guilty to several counts of dangerous driving relating to an incident in the early hours of June 1, 2014.
Sergeant John Moloney told Limerick District Court the defendant failed to stop when he encountered gardai at Clare Street at 4am.
He said he accelerated at speed and was pursued through Garryowen where he drove on the wrong side of the road. Later, at Bohermore, Ballysimon he narrowly avoided a pedestrian.
Judge Mary Larkin was told that having stopped the pursuit due to safety concerns, Garda Enda Clifford and a colleague travelled to the defendant’s home.
Following his arrival at around 5am, O’Donoghue tried to leave the area at speed but was stopped and apprehended before he could do so.
Solicitor Darach McCarthy said his client’s actions were “bizarre and unusual” as there was no reason for him to evade gardai on the night.
“He wasn’t doing anything wrong,” he said adding that his client has suffered from a cocaine addiction in the past and that his behaviour “became erratic” as a result.
Mr McCarthy said his client, who has 40 previous convictions, was not making any excuses for his behaviour on the night.
“There was no reason whatsoever (for it), It’s fight or flight and he just drove. It is what it is.” he said.
Imposing sentence, Judge Larkin commented that the behaviour of the defendant was appalling.
She disqualified him from driving for a total of four years and, subject to his suitability, she imposed a penalty of 180 hours community service in lieu of a three month prison sentence.
O’Donoghue was fined €100 for not having Motor Tax and he was fined €150 in relation to his non-appearance in court on three separate occasions.
Separately, a fine of €250 was imposed in relation to an unrelated theft offence.
That offence related to the seizure of a stolen iPad which O’Donoghue had offered for sale online after it was given to him by a relative. He had no involvement in the theft.