Ban for Donegal teen with ‘magnetic attraction to the boy racers’

February 15, 2018

A BURNFOOT teenager, who has a ‘magnetic attraction to the boy racer fraternity’ in Inishowen, has been banned from driving for drink driving. 

Gavin Toner, 18, of Rockstown, Burnfoot, faced charges of drink driving, dangerous driving, criminal damage, driving without a licence and no insurance when he appeared before Buncrana District Court.

All charges relate to an incident at Main Street, Millbrae and Old Road, Buncrana, on August 28, 2016. Toner was just 16 years old at the time of the offences.

On the previous occasion in court last November, the court heard that gardaí pursued Toner through Buncrana Town before he collided with another car and got stuck in a wall. Toner then reversed back and collided with the side of the Garda car before getting out of the car and making off on foot. However he was apprehended a short time later and arrested.

At Buncrana Garda Station he gave a breath alcohol reading of 35mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath – putting him almost four times over the legal limit of 9mg of alcohol for a specified driver. The current drink driving limit for a fully qualified driver is 22mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath.

Speaking in Buncrana Court last Thursday, defence solicitor Ciaran MacLochlainn said there was a probation service report in court which suggested that his client take part in the prosocial driving course before being sentenced.

However he suggested disposing with the course immediately to allow his client to get back to England to work.

“I don’t normally disagree with Ms. Lennox [the probation officer] but I think the sooner Mr. Toner gets back to England to work the better,” said Mr. MacLochlainn.

“I’ve noticed that he seems to have a magnetic attraction to the boy racer fraternity that have turned up here for other reasons, and I think the sooner he gets away from that certain fraternity the better. I would hate to think that all the good work would be undone.

“Ms. Lennox also referred to him being car enthusiastic in her probation report. I don’t say these things lightly – he has greatly improved and I would hate to think that he might jeopardise his job in some form.”

Judge Paul Kelly said Toner had a lot of work to do to avoid a custodial sentence given the seriousness of the offences. However he accepted Mr. MacLochlainn’s submission and took on board the fact that Toner had completed a Foroige course after these incidents. He said this seemed to mirror the prosocial course in many ways.

Judge Kelly asked Toner about his work in England. He said he was working in London as an apprentice in plaster boarding and worked 7am to 5pm every day for £65 per day.

Mr. MacLochlainn said the 18-year-old was living in accommodation and they were happy with him.

“He is doing well in England but I think he is a young person who would be easily led,” Mr. MacLochlainn added.

The Buncrana solicitor said his client had paid €400 in compensation on the previous sitting for damage caused to the patrol car during the incident.

Judge Kelly fined Toner €300 for drink driving and banned him from driving for 6 months. He was fined a further €200 for dangerous driving at Millbrae Buncrana and banned from driving for two years.

Toner was also fined €100 for having no insurance but was not disqualified for this charge. Meanwhile the remaining charges against him were struck out and taken into consideration.


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