A Banbridge teenager who ‘panicked’ and sped off from police as the car he was driving was uninsured has been handed a 12 month disqualification.
Sentencing the 19-year-old, the district judge stated: “He is a young man. A period of disqualification will do him good. A vehicle being driven dangerously is as lethal as a loaded gun”.
Ethan Malcolmson, of Drumgooland Road, had pleas of guilty entered on his behalf to dangerous driving, using a vehicle without insurance and failing to stop for police at Newry Magistrates’ on Wednesday.
Prosecution outlined that on December 12, at 3.35pm, police on patrol of the Moneyslane Road in Banbridge observed a parked Audi A3 make off at speed.
Officers followed as the rear of the car swung onto the wrong side of the road. Sirens were activated but the driver did not pull over.
The Audi continued, not slowing down for a ‘Give Way’ sign, before police lost sight of it as it drove over the brow of a hill.
Checks by police revealed that the last registered owner of this vehicle was the defendant and that there was no active insurance policy.
Officers attended Malcolmson’s address; they spoke to him and he admitted to being the driver at the time of the incident.
During interview, the defendant admitted to having no insurance and failing to stop, claiming that he had “panicked”, but denied that his driving had been dangerous.
Defence barrister John McCann explained he had been instructed that Malcolmson did have insurance for another vehicle but at the time this was having work done and he “took a chance” driving the Audi.
He stated: “He panicked. He now accepts his driving fell below that of a competent driver. As far as the driving is concerned, there were no damages and no injuries and he accepts he was trying to avoid the police.”
The barrister informed court that Malcolmson is currently in full-time employment and the loss of his licence would have an impact.
District Judge Eamonn King stated: “It is quite clear and it is accepted when police spoke to him, that the reason he was driving in the manner he did was because he was driving a vehicle without insurance.
“In his own words he panicked and drove off. In doing so he was a danger to himself, other road users and the police.
He added: “He is a young man. A period of disqualification will do him good. A vehicle being driven dangerously is as lethal as a loaded gun.”
Malcolmson was disqualified from driving for 12 months and was ordered to pay a fine of £600, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 12 weeks.