herald

Sunday 17 November 2019

Banned driver sat at wheel when his cancer-stricken wife got sick

'Connors was in a serious road traffic accident a decade ago and had suffered cognitive impairment and memory loss ever since.' (stock photo)
'Connors was in a serious road traffic accident a decade ago and had suffered cognitive impairment and memory loss ever since.' (stock photo)

A banned driver only took over at the wheel of a car because his cancer-stricken wife had started to get violently sick, a court has heard.

Gerry Connors (35) then jumped into the back seat of the car when he saw gardai.

Judge David McHugh imposed a four-month sentence and disqualified Connors from driving for 12 years, saying he believed "everyone was capable of redemption".

The defendant, of Rathlawns, Rathcoole, Co Dublin, admitted driving without insurance or a driving licence at Blanchardstown Shopping Centre on December 21, 2018.

Sergeant Maria Callaghan told Blanchardstown District Court that Garda Paul Doona was on mobile patrol when he stopped a Galway-registered vehicle.

Sgt Callaghan said Gda Doona saw Connors jump from the driver's seat to the passenger seat, and then on to the rear passenger seat of the vehicle.

The sergeant said gardai knew Connors was a disqualified driver at the time of the incident.

Insurance

Sgt Callaghan said Connors was asked to produce his insurance documents at his local garda station but he failed to produce them.

The court heard Connors had 11 previous uninsured driving convictions and he received a 30-year driving disqualification in 2015. Defence lawyer Ciaran MacLoughlin said Connors was a married man with five children. He was currently out of work and in receipt of social welfare.

His wife was currently undergoing treatment for cancer, the lawyer said.

Mr MacLoughlin said Connors had not been driving the vehicle. However, his wife, who had been driving, started to get "violently sick" and he took over at the wheel, just to take the car out of traffic.

Mr MacLoughlin said the defendant's father died in tragic circumstances a number of years ago.

Connors was in a serious road traffic accident a decade ago and had suffered cognitive impairment and memory loss ever since.

Mr MacLoughlin said that the defendant was on the housing list, but he needed a bungalow as he had issues with his balance.

Recognisances were set in the event of an appeal.

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