Driving ban for addict who reversed car at Limerick gardai before high-speed chase

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Limerick District Court heard that gardai attempted to intercept a car being driven by the defendant

Limerick District Court heard that gardai attempted to intercept a car being driven by the defendant

A MAN who reversed a high-powered car directly at Limerick gardai forcing them to take evasive action has been banned from driving for three years.

Gerard Ward, aged 43, who has an address at Patrick Street, Clarecastle, County Clare, pleaded to a charge of dangerous driving relating to an incident in the city centre on August 30, 2018.

Garda Shane Kirwan told Limerick District Court that gardai from the divisional drugs unit attempted to intercept a car being driven by the defendant at around 6.30pm after he was observed leaving the address of a known drug dealer which was under surveillance.

After initially stopping the vehicle at traffic lights at Carey’s Road, Mr Ward reversed into another car and “narrowly missed” two detectives who were approaching the defendant’s car.

“He almost collided with us, we had to take evasive action,” Garda Kirwan told Inspector Paul Reidy.

Mr Ward then drove off and a high speed pursuit ensued.

The defendant – a qualified electrician – was arrested  a short time later at Quin’s Cottages, Rosbrien, after he was ‘boxed in and stopped’ by gardai.

Garda Kirwan said the car he was driving had failed to stop for gardai and that there were “quite an amount of vehicles and pedestrians” in the area given the time of day.

Solicitor Caitriona Dwane said her client, who has no previous convictions, was suffering a “very bad drug addiction” around the time and had made a “really very poor decision”. 

She said previous efforts by Mr Ward to address his addictions had not been successful but that he remains committed and continues to make “genuine efforts”.

Judge Marian O’Leary (pictured) was told the defendant is attending a counsellor and that he is also receiving assistance from  his GP.

“It’s a long-standing matter but he is making very positive progress at the moment,” said Ms Dwane who said her client – a father-of-one – is engaging with the Peter McVerry Trust with a view to entering a residential detox programme in the near future.

“He is probably in the best place he has ever been in to beat his addiction,” added Ms Dwane who urged the court to be as lenient as possible.

Imposing sentence, Judge O’Leary commented the defendant was lucky not to be facing more serious charges given the nature of his driving.

“It was very, very dangerous, there could have been far more serious consequences,” she said.

In addition to being disqualified for three years, Mr Ward was fined €500.

Noting the defendant’s guilty plea and his personal circumstances, Judge O’Leary said she would not impose a custodial sentence.