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Suspended sentence for man found driving quad without a helmet whilst disqualified

He was told: 'The court has a mandatory responsibility to protect members of the public, including children, but you thought 'aww forget it'.'

A Portadown man who was found driving a quad without a helmet whilst disqualified has been handed a suspended sentence.

The district judge told the 21-year-old, who is soon to be a father-of-two: “The court has a mandatory responsibility to protect members of the public, including children, but you thought ‘aww forget it’.”

Louis Neill, of Churchill Park, pleaded guilty to using a motorcycle without a helmet, using a vehicle without insurance and driving whilst disqualified at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

It was heard that on July 9, at 8.42pm, police on mobile patrol spotted the defendant riding a quad on the Drumcree Road, Portadown.

Upon seeing the police, Neill drove off in the direction of Ballyoran Park.

At 10.15pm, the officers attended the defendant’s home to speak with him.

During a notebook interview, Neill admitted to riding the quad without a helmet. He also informed them that he had no insurance and was a disqualified driver.

When cautioned, the defendant said: “I’m sorry, I really regret it, I won’t do it again.”

Defence barrister Conor Lunny stated: “This was a stupid decision, he had been asked to fix the quad for a friend and took it out for a drive. This would have been a plea at the first opportunity but it was hard to get in touch with him.

“He has no such access to any vehicle now, it would be his intention to move on from these three or four years of criminality”.

He added: “His partner is expecting their second child, he made full admissions to police has nothing else pending and this was 11 or 12 months on.”

District Judge Bernie Kelly said: “Mr Neill, the reason you were disqualified from driving, despite being a father, was for driving whilst unfit.

“The court has a mandatory responsibility to protect members of the public, including children, but you thought ‘aww forget it’. This is what makes driving whilst disqualified such a serious offence.”

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

In addition, he was ordered to pay a fine of £50, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within four weeks.

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