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Newtownhamilton woman avoids jail for driving offences despite earlier suspended sentence

The district judge warned the 25-year-old it was her 'last chance'

Armagh Magistrates' Court

A Newtownhamilton woman has escaped custody for driving offences despite being in breach of a suspended sentence.

The 25-year-old was told by the district judge that this was her “last chance” as she was sentenced to an enhanced combination order.

Rachel Lynch, 25, of Dungormley Estate, pleaded guilty to using a vehicle without insurance and driving whilst disqualified at Armagh Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Court heard that on February 21, police were on patrol of the Tandragee Road in Markethill when their attention was drawn to an Audi A4 with a broken taillight.

They stopped the car and spoke to the defendant, who was the driver.

When asked, Lynch stated that the vehicle belonged to her and that she had purchased it a couple of weeks ago.

Checks showed that the defendant was a disqualified driver and that the car belonged to her partner, who was the front seat passenger when stopped.

Lynch was subsequently cautioned and arrested, making no reply.

During an interview at Lurgan Custody Suite, the defendant made full admissions to the offences.

Court heard Lynch was in breach of a suspended sentence which she had been imposed on December 6.

Defence barrister Bobby Rea stated: “This woman’s background is no excuse but it does explain her difficulties.

“She understands the precarious position she is in and that can be seen in her demeanour with probation.”

He added: “She is aware of the possibility of custody and understands the gravity of the situation she is in.”

District judge Peter Magill stated: “Ms Lynch, the fact is people who breach suspended sentences are in danger of going to jail.

“However, I am not going to send you to jail today, there are no aggravating features to this offence and you have pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.”

He added: “I am giving you this chance, this is your last chance”.

Lynch was sentenced to an enhanced combination order consisting of 18 months probation and 60 hours of community service.

In addition, she was also disqualified from driving for one year.

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