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Man caught driving whilst disqualified twice in little over a week given suspended sentence

Court heard on the first occasion he was going to look at a go-kart to buy his child for Christmas and, on the second, was going to collect it

Court drink driving Craigavon

A Banbridge man who was stopped by police twice for driving whilst disqualified and without insurance in little over a week has been handed a lengthy suspended prison sentence.

The deputy district judge told the 50-year-old: “For someone of your background and previous good record you have gone out and done something incredibly stupid.”

Donal McArdle, of Tullyorior Road, pleaded guilty to two counts of driving whilst disqualified, two counts of using a vehicle without insurance and obstructing police at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

Prosecution outlined that on November 5, police observed an Audi Q7 being driven on Obins Street, Portadown.

Checks on systems revealed that there was no active insurance policy on the vehicle. Officers then spoke to the driver, who identified himself as the defendant.

Further enquiries by the police showed that McArdle was a disqualified driver, having been handed a 12 month ban at Banbridge Magistrates’ Court on January 16, of last year.

Then on November 13, police on patrol of the Garvaghy Road, Portadown, stopped a Mercedes which was flagged as having no active insurance policy.

Upon speaking to the officers, the defendant, who was the driver, initially provided a false name.

However, police enquiries revealed that the last registered owner of the vehicle was McArdle and he later provided his genuine details to the officers.

Defence barrister Aaron Thompson stated that his client had “no good reason” for driving whilst disqualified, submitting that McArdle was a man with a degree and a “good job” prior to the pandemic.

He explained that the defendant had been on the first occasion going to look at a go-kart to buy his child for Christmas and, on the second, had been going to collect it.

Deputy District Judge Chris Holmes told the defendant: “For someone of your background and previous good record you have gone out and done something incredibly stupid.

“If it wasn’t for the fact that you have pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and your previous lack of record, I would be sending you to prison today.”

McArdle was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for two years and was disqualified from driving for 12 months.

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