US soldier had fake license
A FORMER US soldier has been given a six-month suspended sentence after he was caught in Dublin using a forged driver's licence.
Father-of-two, John Moore, 37, with an address at St Alphonsus Road, Dundalk, Co. Louth, pleaded guilty at Dublin District Court to having a false instrument – a counterfeit
Irish driver's licence – as well as a charge for possessing a small quantity of cannabis for his own use.
The US national was stopped at Lissadell Drive, in Drimnagh, Dublin, in the early hours of July 3 last.
Garda Sergeant Brendan O'Halloran told Judge Michael Walsh that he stopped Moore driving a Nissan Qashqai. He said that during the conversation he became aware the accused was an American national and he had “various clothing, implements, tools, locks, suitcases”.
Garda Sergeant O'Halloran said he suspected “some of these were for use in fraud and theft” and he arrested Moore who was asked to produce his driving licence.
The court heard he handed over a fraudulent Irish licence with his photo but in a different name. He was taken to Crumlin garda station and detained for questioning.
A small quantity of cannabis was also found on him.
Garda Sergeant O'Halloran agreed with the defence that the accused told him that on the date of his arrest he had been residing in Limerick and he had an argument with his partner when they were on the way to Dundalk.
The court heard he was a former US soldier and suffered from post traumatic stress disorder. Garda Sergeant O'Halloran said the accused had shown him his scars.
He also told Judge Walsh that Moore had prior criminal convictions in Northern Ireland including one for possessing an implement – a licence –for use in fraud for which he was jailed for a year sentence in 2014.
He also had another conviction in the North for having no motor insurance.
In pleas for leniency, Moore's lawyer told the court that the 37-year-old was honourably discharged from the US army in 2008 and moved to Ireland the following year and married his partner.
The millitary veteran suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and did not try to get a valid licence but decided to procure one illegally, the court heard.
The cannabis seized was for his own use, his lawyer also said.
Judge Walsh said it was significant that Moore already had a conviction in Northern Ireland for a possessing a false licence which occurred in 2013 and which resulted in a custodial sentence.
He said Moore had not learned a lesson from that but the judge took into consideration his early guilty plea and his co-operation with the garda. He imposed a six-month sentence but suspended it on condition Moore does not commit a further offence in the next 12 months.
He warned Moore he must “regularise your affairs” and that the sentence would be activated if he re-offends. A €200 fine was also handed down on the drug possession charge.