Disqualified driver claimed he was getting milk for new baby after Garda pursuit

January 26, 2019

A man who was disqualified from driving claimed he was forced to take his partner’s car to get milk for his new baby when caught by Gardai.

Jonathan Stewart of Croaghross, Portsalon was charged with driving while disqualified after being followed by gardaí on August 20, last year.

Sergeant Jim Collins told Letterkenny District Court that gardai had been on patrol when they saw the defendant driving towards them.

Stewart then reversed and took another side road and was pursued by gardai. They later saw the red jeep outside a private house and the defendant came out a short time later. He admitted that he had no licence or insurance.

The court heard that Stewart has a total of 59 previous convictions, many of which are related to road traffic offences.

In 2016 he received a six-year driving disqualification for a culmination of offences.

Solicitor for the defendant, Donough Cleary, told the court that just days prior to this detection, Stewart’s partner had a baby via c-section and was not able to drive.

“He had to take her car as he was attending to necessities for the baby. There was no milk in the house and they live in a rural setting. He made no attempt to dodge gardai in the dead of night. This happened at mid-day,” said Mr Cleary.

He continued: “My client had a difficult childhood with a fractious family background. He is now in a stable relationship and is the primary carer for his daughter as his partner works. He made a bad decision on this occasion.”

Having heard the evidence Judge Paul Kelly said it would be “very difficult to see how a custodial sentence can be avoided”.

He noted, however, that community service had never formed part of the defendant’s ongoing sentencing and adjourned matters for a relevant report to be compiled by the Probation Service.

Matters have been adjourned to the March 25 sitting of Letterkenny District Court.