A Thurles man who failed to stop for Gardaí, and was found with cannabis in his system while driving, was given a 4-month suspended prison sentence at Thurles District Court.
Judge Elizabeth MacGrath heard that Gardaí were on patrol in Holycross on January 31 this year, when they encountered Alan Duarte, of 67 Childers Park, Thurles.
Mr Duarte failed to stop when signalled to do so, and tried to evade Gardaí on numerous occasions, said Sgt. Declan O’Carroll. Duarte failed to stop at a stop sign, overtook two vehicles on a continuous white line, and drove past Pouldine at speed.
Duarte failed to stop a junction “and nearly lost control” at a bridge in Holycross. Duarte drove down a narrow laneway forcing a pedestrian off the road. Duarte was eventually arrested.
He had “bloodshot eyes” and appeared to be under the influence of an intoxicant. There was cannabis confirmed to be in his system, following a test. “He admitted he had no insurance,” added Sgt. Declan O’Carroll.
In all, Mr Duarte was charged with four counts of Dangerous Driving contrary to Sec 53 of the Road Traffic Act, for offences at Turtulla, Holycross, The Heath Thurles, and Galbertstown Lower Thurles. He was also charged with having no insurance, and having an excess of an intoxicant in his system. He has 17 previous convictions.
Solicitor Mr Philip Egan said his client had a “very troubled background.” Duarte had been involved in drinking and drugs since he was aged 14, and had broken up with his long-term girlfriend, and child.
“He took a chance on the day. He decided to drive, he shouldn’t have. He saw the Gardaí and panicked. He just could not see anyway around it,” said Mr Egan.
Mr Duarte (26) has been sober for the past 7 months, his “longest period sober for a number of years.” Duarte had attended Aiséirí, and Cuan Mhuire treatment centres. “Unfortunately, he has fallen off the wagon,” said Mr Egan.
Mr Duarte is engaging with the Probation Services regarding treatment. “I would ask that any custodial sentence be suspended,” added Mr Egan.
Judge MacGrath said she noted the guilty pleas, and fined Duarte €200, disqualifying him from driving for four years. In relation to the dangerous driving, Duarte was given a 4-month prison sentence, suspended on condition he enter into a Sec. 99 bond of €250, and keep the peace for 2 years. He was also banned from driving for 4 years.
In relation to no insurance, Duarte was also given a 4-month prison sentence, suspended on the same conditions as above.