Ex-Garda warned he faces jail if he gets behind wheel again

April 25, 2021

An ex-Garda who led Gardai on a dangerous pursuit while he was already serving 20-year-road ban has been warned he will be jailed if he drives again while disqualified.

Chris Gildea, who had served the force for more than 35 years, appeared at Letterkenny District Court in Co Donegal.

The court heard that Gildea, now aged 65, is already serving a 20 year road ban which was handed down to him in 2007.

On March 9th, 2020, Gardai were contacted about a car being driven erratically on the dual carriageway outside Letterkenny.

Gardai responded and found a Peugeot 206 car weaving across the road.

The car then drove through a roundabout on the wrong side of the road.

At least one car had to take evasive action and was almost hit by the speeding driver.

The car picked up speed and was eventually stopped in the Ballyraine area of Letterkenny at Thorndale where Gardai arrested the driver.

Gildea, of Thorndale, Letterkenny, was arrested and taken to Letterkenny Garda station where a reading of 158 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millitres of blood was recorded.

He was charge with dangerous driving, driving without insurance or a license and also drunk driving.

Judge Paul Kelly said the accused had a “substantial back catalogue” of such driving offenses in the past.

He noted that because of the previous 20 year ban, it would be 2027 at the earlier before Gildea would be allowed to get behind the wheel of a car again.

Judge Kelly imposed two further four-year driving bans on Gildea but ordered that the bans to run concurrently to the ban he is already serving.

He also sentenced Gildea to six months in prison but suspended the sentence and fined the driver a total of €450.

And he warned “If he is found behind the wheel of a car again that will trigger the sentence.”

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