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Uninsured learner who drove dangerously to evade police handed 12 month ban

Defence - describing it as an 'atrocious incident' - added: 'He knew he wasn't insured and panicked'

A Newry learner driver who drove dangerously to evade police as he was unaccompanied and his vehicle uninsured has been handed a 12 month disqualification.

The 20-year-old’s solicitor commented that her client “will now have to wait until he matures to sit his test”.

Eugene Burns had pleas of guilty entered to dangerous driving, failing to stop for police, using a vehicle without insurance, being an unaccompanied L driver, not displaying L plates, defective light and two counts of defective tyre at the city’s Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Prosecution outlined that at around 11am on January 17, of this year, police on patrol of Newry city centre observed a blue Peugeot which had a defective brake light.

Subsequent checks revealed that the vehicle did not have a valid insurance policy. Officers then activated lights and siren to signal for the driver to stop.

However, the vehicle continued pulling out of two junctions at speed with no regard for other road users, before losing control and colliding with a fence.

The driver, who was identified as the defendant, exited the vehicle but was soon detained.

Upon inspection of the car, police also found that both back tyres were devoid of all tread.

When interviewed, it was also established that Burns was the holder of a provisional licence only.

Defence solicitor Bernadette Rafferty stated: “This was an atrocious incident but to his credit he has made an immediate plea. He knew he wasn’t insured and panicked.

“He accepts his driving was dangerous, putting himself, other road users and the police at risk. He will now have to wait until he matures to sit his test.”

Deputy District Judge Anne Marshall said: “This is obviously a serious combination of offences. His driving was dangerous. Not only that but he failed to stop for police and then collided with a fence.”

Burns was disqualified from driving for 12 months and was ordered to pay a fine of £400, along with the offender’s levy of £15.

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