herald

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Drug-driver gets three months for being on wrong side of road

Barnel Muntean has
Barnel Muntean has "turned over a new leaf"

A motorist was caught driving the wrong way down a main road while under the influence of cannabis.

Barnel Muntean (21) was jailed for three months for dangerous and drug driving.

A court heard that he had suffered addiction issues but had since detoxed and "turned over a new leaf".

Sentencing him, Judge David McHugh said Muntean still had to pay for the danger he put people in on the day.

The accused - from Alderwood Park, Tallaght - admitted dangerous driving and driving while under the influence of an intoxicant.

Blanchardstown District Court heard the incident happened on the Naas Road at Newlands Cross on April 2, 2015. Garda Declan Bambrick said he was on duty at 12.20am when he saw the accused driving the wrong way.

He was stopped, arrested and taken to Blanchardstown Garda Station.

A breath sample he provided was negative for alcohol but positive for cannabis.

Muntean had previous convictions for motoring offences and had since been banned from driving for having no insurance and another count of dangerous driving.

Addicted

The defendant was originally from Romania and had been in Ireland since 2000, his barrister Ciaran MacLoughlin said.

He had become addicted to illicit narcotics and his father took him back to Romania for a detox programme.

He had been clean for almost two years and was on Jobseeker's Allowance.

Judge McHugh asked what the problem had been in bringing the prosecution given that the offence happened in 2015.

Gda Bambrick said there had been bench warrants in relation to the case.

Muntean was in a "very different place now," Mr Mac Loughlin said. He had taken steps to right the problems in his life.

The previous conviction for dangerous driving was also as a result of addiction issues at the time, he added.

Notwithstanding the fact that Muntean had turned over a new leaf, he had taken bench warrants and evaded justice, the judge said during sentencing.

"He still has to pay for the danger he put himself and other people in on that date in 2015," the judge added.

He had been minded to jail the accused for six months but said he was lowering the sentence by 50pc.

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