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22 May 2022

Dundalk court: Driving ban for damaging car while evading gardai

Dundalk court: Driving ban for damaging car while evading gardai

Dundalk courthouse

A man who damaged a stolen car worth over €20,000 while trying to evade gardaí, later told gardai he had paid €450 for it to a man who he claimed had offered it to him for sale saying he was "stuck for money".

Martin McDonagh (20) with an address at Castletown Road, Dundalk pleaded guilty to unlawfully taking possession of the car and causing criminal damage to the vehicle on August second 2020.

CCTV showed the owner parking his car and locking it before walking to his place of work, where he left the key in his jacket which was hung on the back of a door there.

The car theft was reported to gardai and they later received a tip-off that the car was driving around the Castleross housing estate.

Gardaí signaled to the driver to stop but he failed to do so and drove erratically - colliding with kerbs, walls and trees, before he was stopped.

The cost of repairs was over €8,600.The court heard last Wednesday that the defendant was in no condition to be interviewed due to his intoxication and was arrested and questioned five days later. 

He initially denied driving the vehicle – which gardai accepted he had not stolen, and told them he had paid €450 to someone who he alleged had called him offering to sell it to him as he was ‘stuck for a bit of money’.

All but two of his 25 previous convictions dated back to when he was a juvenile, with two public order offences recorded as an adult.

The court heard the father of two was assessed by the Probation Service as being at high risk of reoffending.

The Defence barrister argued there was no planning involved and his client - who had a difficult upbringing and suffers from an addiction to drugs, is ashamed and remorseful for what occurred.

Judge Patrick Quinn imposed a four year driving ban and sentences totalling three years, which he suspended in their entirety on the defendant remaining drug and alcohol free and submitting himself to testing to prove his compliance. 

He was also directed that the 20 year old must avoid ‘pro criminal peers’.

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