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Driver who threw beer from car and caused €3,000 damage to garda car jailed for three-and-a-half years

The accused had 164 previous convictions, mainly for road traffic offences, at the time of his arrest in 2016.

Image: PA Archive/PA Images

A DRIVER WHO had been disqualified for 15 years and led gardaí on a high-speed car chase has received a three-and-a-half-year sentence.

Garda Neil Plunkett said Ronald Lawlor, 36, of Main Street, Clongriffin, Dublin had 164 previous convictions, mainly for road traffic offences, including drink-driving and driving without insurance and a licence.

“I have a genuine fear that someday he may hurt somebody,” Plunkett told Marie Torrens BL, prosecuting.

He described how gardaí were called to a domestic incident in the Belmayne area of Dublin on 10 December, 2016, and arrived to find Lawlor sitting in his car.

Officers who knew Lawlor and were aware that he was disqualified from driving warned him not to drive, but Lawlor took off at speed.

Plunkett said during the chase he saw Lawlor throw a beer can out the window.

No lights

“To me it looked like he was actually drinking while driving the car but I didn’t actually see him drinking,” the garda told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court before he added that following his arrest Lawlor refused to provide a sample for alcohol testing.

At the sentence hearing, Plunkett said Lawlor drove around Belmayne at speeds of up to 140 km/h, without slowing down at junctions or roundabouts.

A number of motorists had to brake heavily to avoid colliding with Lawlor’s car, and at one point he drove the car the wrong way around a roundabout with no lights on.

Plunkett said at the junction of the R124 with Moyne Road, he parked his own unmarked patrol car in the centre of the road to prevent other vehicles coming into the junction but he had to reverse his car out of the way when Lawlor drove straight at him.

Lawlor continued driving, turning right around a roundabout on the wrong side with no lights on, and failed to stop at a junction at Balgriffin Cemetery.

Squad car damage

A garda car pulled up alongside to stop Lawlor, but he turned his car sharply to the right colliding with the side of the squad car, causing just under €3,000 worth of damage.

Shortly afterwards, two lanes of traffic were stopped at lights and Lawlor was forced to stop. He was arrested shortly afterwards.

Plunkett said that at the time of his arrest, Lawlor had nine separate driving disqualifications and was not permitted to drive for 15 years.

Lawlor pleaded guilty to endangerment on Moyne Road, dangerous driving on Grange Road, Baldoyle, damage to a garda patrol car and failing to provide a breath sample at Ballymun Garda Station on December 10, 2016.

Today, Judge Melanie Greally imposed a three-and-a-half-year sentence with the final 12 months suspended.

She ordered Lawlor to work with the Probation Service to address his alcohol misuse and if suitable, to complete a road safety programme.

She also imposed a further ten-year driving ban.

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Sonya McClean

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