John Maughan (35) of Baskin Park, Stockhole Lane, Cloghran, Dublin 15, was jailed for six months after he pleaded guilty to possessing items to be used in the course of a criminal act.
The father-of-four also admitted to driving with no insurance on the same occasion, February 10, 2021, on Herberton Road in Crumlin.
Maughan has 119 previous convictions, including 81 for road traffic offences, and others for theft, possession of stolen items and public order offences.
“I’m no saint, your honour,” Maughan told Judge Pauline Codd when he took the stand at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today.
“I’m very sorry for what I done. I want to turn my life around. I’ll never sit behind the wheel of a car again, I promise you that. All I’m looking for is a second chance to get home to my wife and kids,” he added.
The court heard that Maughan had Covid-19 at the time of the offence but forgot to tell gardaí until he had been arrested and brought to a garda station.
Garda Jeff Dolan told Pieter Le Vert BL, prosecuting, that he was on patrol on the day in question when he saw a car driven by Maughan, with no registration plate on the front, making a suspicious manoeuvre.
Gda Dolan said Covid-19 restrictions were in full force at the time and people were not allowed to travel over five kilometres from their residence.
Garda Dolan pulled Maughan over and found he had no drivers’ licence or insurance.
Maughan said he was working buying and selling cars which was why he was over five kilometres from home.
Gda Dolan noticed a trolley jack in the car and what’s known as a reciprocating saw, commonly used for the breaking up and theft of cars, specifically catalytic converters.
Gloves and packets of saw blades were also discovered.
Maughan told gardaí he had got a puncture and a friend had left the saw in the car.
It was discovered later that the chassis number on the car corresponded to a different registration number.
Anne Fitzgibbon BL, defending, said Maughan was a member of the Travelling community and “never really had a chance,” growing up with his uncles and cousins all stealing.
Maughan left school at 13, tried but failed to get a job and started cocaine when he sank into depression.
Counsel said her client's 15-year-old son Brooklyn was a talented boxer who represented Ireland.
The court heard Maughan has done many education courses while in custody, has engaged with addiction counselling and is on an enhanced prisoner regime.
He has been offered a part-time job valeting cars on his release, the court heard.
Judge Codd it was “reckless in the extreme” for Maughan to have driven in breach of Covid-19 restrictions in the knowledge that he himself had Covid.
However, the judge said she was impressed with the progress Maughan has been making in custody in respect of his education and addressing his addiction.
Maughan was sentenced to 12 months in prison with the final six months suspended.