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Armagh man with 11-page record handed three month prison sentence for drug and driving offences

Armagh Magistrates Court

An Armagh man with an 11-page record has been sentenced to three months in prison for drugs and driving offences.

The 26-year-old’s barrister told court that his client was taking a “pragmatic view” of the charges he faced.

Jamie Starkey, of Legar Hill Park, appeared on foot of a breach of bail at Armagh Magistrates’, sitting at Newry.

Defence barrister Seamus Lannon informed the court that his client wished to plead guilty to the offences for which he was on bail.

Starkey confirmed his pleas to two counts of possession of Class B, careless driving, failing to stop for police and using a vehicle without insurance.

Outlining the facts, prosecution stated that on April 20, at 10.10am, police on patrol of Bridge Street, Portadown, observed a car being driven by the defendant which was flagged as uninsured.

Officers followed the vehicle as it turned into the Meadow Lane car park and stopped.

Police parked up in front of the car; Starkey then reversed quickly out of his spot and made off at speed, exiting the car park travelling on the wrong side of the road.

Officers lost sight of the defendant but later attended his address, and during a search of the property, a quantity of cannabis was found on his person.

Then on September 26, at 1pm, police attended an address in Armagh and arrested Starkey.

During a further search, a small grinder containing a small amount of suspected cannabis was found in his pocket.

When interviewed, Starkey claimed that the grinder found in his possession belonged to a third party.

Mr Lannon stated that the grinder belonged to the defendant’s girlfriend but he was taking a “pragmatic view” as he conceded that it likely contained cannabis.

Turning to the breach of bail, a constable told court that Starkey had failed to sign at a police station on one occasion in the past week.

She stated that the defendant had breached his curfew on December 9 and the following day his father had revoked the bail address.

Police had been unable to locate him until a search of his girlfriend’s address in Gilford, where she presented herself to the door and stated that Starkey was inside.

The constable stated: “He made away from the rear of the property….he later phoned police to state that he would be present at court today.”

Objecting to bail, the constable informed court that Starkey had breached bail five times this year, on one occasion evading police for a month, and had 91 previous convictions.

District Judge Bernie Kelly commented that the defendant had a poor record stretching some 11 pages and that she would not consider him a suitable candidate for bail.

She added that an adjournment for a presentence report would result in Starkey being remanded in custody until mid-January.

The defendant was sentenced to three months in prison, he was disqualified from driving for three months and was ordered to pay a fine of £200, along with the offender’s levy of £15.

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