A student who was driving at 160km/hr on the dual carriageway into Sligo town was extremely apologetic and had learned his lesson, his solicitor told Sligo District Court.

A client was charged with dangerous driving on the N4 at Carraroe, which Judge Brendan O’Reilly reduced to careless driving. Sergeant Derek Butler said that gardaí were on duty on October 23rd 2021 at 7:25pm and were travelling into Sligo on the N4 from Collooney. A vehicle passed them at high speed and it was highly windy and heavy rainfall. Gardaí followed the car and were doing speeds of up to 160km/hr which they decided to reduce because of the driving conditions. At the Carraroe junction, the vehicle was spotted heading for Sligo town and was intercepted at Pearse Road. There was a yellow weather warning in place.

Defending solicitor Mr Gerard McGovern told the court it was indicated for his client to do a pro-social course where he scored highly. He was a very young man he said. He was in court with his father and had never been in court before and was quite a shy young man, his solicitor added.

He had been doing a speed of 160km/hr on the dual carriageway and the weather had not been great. He had co-operated fully with gardaí and he would say the gardaí were very helpful to him, Mr McGovern said.

He asked Judge O’Reilly to take into account his client’s young age and how he had dealt with the pro-social and he had learned a lot from the course and the way he interacted with gardaí.

He said he is a young man who would not be seen before the court again.

The solicitor said a conviction for dangerous driving would have an effect on him for the rest of his life.

He said his client had a lot of things going for him and asked the judge to deal with it as a lesser charge of careless driving.

Sgt Butler said there was no objection to that.

Mr McGovern said he was very sorry and regretted it.

He explained to the judge the dual carriageway is two lanes and quite a wide road.

He praised the success of the pro-social course which was brought in by Judge Kilrane which was beneficial in particular to young men starting out driving.

Judge O’Reilly said he felt that this young man was a candidate in the circumstances for the reduced charge of careless driving and he said he was going to fine him €500 with no disqualification.

Mr McGovern said he was most thankful and he had learned a lot.

The judge told the client he can thank his able solicitor and the fact he had good sense to apologise when he was arrested and do the course.

He told him he hoped he had learned a lesson and the client replied that he had.

Sligo Champion, 6 April 2022