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Middletown lorry driver caught using phone fined £680 for range of motoring offences

"If anybody needs to check thoroughly before getting behind the wheel of any vehicle that they're fully insured, it's somebody who's already been convicted twice of driving without insurance."

A Middletown lorry driver caught using his phone behind the wheel has been fined £680 for a range of motoring offences.

District Judge Anne Marshall said that Donall Carville, of Knockbane Road, had “quite the driving record” as she passed the sentence, which also resulted in a disqualification from driving for three months.

The 33-year-old appeared before Armagh Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry Courthouse on Tuesday, charged with using a motor vehicle without insurance, using a mobile phone whilst driving and failing to produce a driving licence.

The court heard that on October 7 of last year, police were on the Friary Road in Armagh, where they observed the driver of an agricultural Volvo lorry, with a mobile phone in his right hand up to his right ear. The defendant immediately dropped the phone when he saw police.

He was issued with a fixed penalty notice and was required to produce both parts of his licence, which he failed to do.

The no insurance charge before the court stems from an incident on April 30, 2019, when the defendant was stopped driving a Mercedes in Middletown. Due to technical difficulties, police were unable to carry out checks, but on May 1, they spoke to the defendant again.

He claimed that he had been test driving the Mercedes over several days and that it did not belong to him, but he was covered under the owner’s insurance policy.

Police determined that he was not covered by insurance.

Carville’s defence representation asked the District Judge for the sentence passed to be as lenient as possible, given the fact that the defendant was a lorry driver by trade and the main provider in his household.

The defence added that she had explained to the defendant that his “record for driving offences is of concern” and that Carville had accepted by the roadside that he had been using his phone.

The court also heard that he was disqualified from driving on the day of the hearing, which was due to finish “imminently”.

District Judge Marshall noted that this was the defendant’s third no insurance offence, commenting: “If anybody needs to check thoroughly before getting behind the wheel of any vehicle that they’re fully insured, it’s somebody who’s already been convicted twice of driving without insurance.”

For the no insurance charge, District Judge Marshall fined Carville £300, plus a £15 offender levy.

As he was driving a lorry, he was fined £300 plus the £15 offender levy for using a mobile phone, and also fined £50 for failing to produce a licence.

The defendant was given 20 weeks to pay the total fine of £680, and was further disqualified from driving for three months.

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