A DANGEROUS driver caught doing a handbrake turn in treacherous, icy conditions, just yards from children playing in the snow, has been jailed for six months.
Keith Hall (21), who was already banned, told a garda he had carried out the manoeuvre "for fun during the big freeze".
Hall, of Kilmartin Drive, Tal- laght, had 66 previous convictions and had been put off the road seven times previously when he was caught driving without insurance. He denied charges of dangerous, uninsured and unlicensed driving.
Jailing him, Judge Catherine Murphy told the father of one it was time for him to "grow up".
Garda Ross McAnaspie told Dublin District Court he was on duty at Kilmartin Avenue at 12pm on January 5 when he heard screeching car tyres.
He saw Hall in a red Peugeot driving at speed before performing a handbrake turn. He could see Hall had one hand on the steering wheel and the other by his side.
The car went over to the wrong side of the road before skidding to the correct side and stopping a short distance from the patrol car. The court heard children still on their school holidays were playing nearby in the snow.
Garda McAnaspie saw Hall was not wearing a seatbelt and asked him why he had done what he did.
"He said the reason for the handbrake turn was it was for fun," the garda told the court.
Hall had no insurance, tax, NCT certificate or licence and the car tyres were so bald it was impossible to measure their depth.
Defence solicitor Grainne Malone told the court that what the garda saw was Hall skidding in the snow at a time when the country had "effectively come to a standstill" because of the bad road conditions.
In evidence, Hall denied making the handbrake turn or giving Garda McAnaspie the reply that he did it "for fun". He admitted he had been driving with one hand on the steering wheel. He insisted there were no children playing where the garda saw him driving. Judge Murphy said she fully accepted the evidence of the gardai.
As well as his record of unin- sured driving, Hall had three previous convictions for dangerous driving and hit-and-run. Ms Malone said many of his previous offences happened when he was a juvenile.
The judge sentenced him to six months on the no insurance charge and three months for dangerous driving.
She said she was making the sentences concurrent because of Hall's commitment to stay out of trouble and spend more time with his two-year-old daughter.