herald

Friday 13 December 2019

Uninsured motorist drove as he was 'only sober one' in van

Christopher Stokes was fined €200 but spared a driving ban
Christopher Stokes was fined €200 but spared a driving ban

A teenage motorist agreed to drive a van without insurance because he was the only sober person in the vehicle at the time, a court heard.

Christopher Stokes (19) panicked when gardai stopped him and gave them a false name.

Judge David McHugh fined him €200, but spared him a driving ban.

Stokes, of Foxdene Avenue, Balgaddy, Lucan, pleaded guilty to driving without insurance and giving gardai a false name and address.

Blanchardstown District Court heard gardai stopped Stokes driving a white transit van at Fonthill Road, Clondalkin, at 12.20am on July 12 last year and demanded to see his licence.

He did not have it and gave his name as Thomas McDonagh, saying he lived in the UK and could not provide any form of ID.

Panicked

He was arrested and taken to Ronanstown Garda Station, where he gave his correct details.

He did have a licence, which had since been seen by the prosecuting garda.

Stokes travelled over and back from the UK regularly, his solicitor Simon Fleming said.

At the time of the incident he was back in Ireland as a young cousin had died and it was a "traumatic event" in the family.

He agreed to drive because he was the only one sober in the van, and when gardai caught him he "panicked", Mr Fleming said.

However, the prosecuting garda was familiar with members of the Travelling community in that area of the city and Stokes "didn't get past" him.

He had a full licence, which was a "big thing" in the Travelling community, and he realised he should not abuse it.

Mr Fleming asked the judge to be lenient and not disqualify Stokes from driving.

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