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Dangerous driver Man who 'narrowly missed' running garda over has prison sentence extended by a year

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Judge's gavel (stock)

Judge's gavel (stock)

Judge's gavel (stock)

A young man who “narrowly missed” a garda after driving a car in his direction has had his time in prison extended by a year.

Michael Cawley (22) drove away from the scene on the wrong side of the road and later mounted a footpath, forcing cars and pedestrians to take evasive action. He drove at speeds up to 140 kilometres per hour until gardai lost sight of the car.

Cawley has 35 previous convictions and his sentence will be served consecutive to a three and a half year term he is currently serving for burglary and unauthorised taking of a car.

Cawley of Daletree Place, Ballycullen, Dublin 24, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two counts of endangerment, dangerous driving and driving without a licence on May 15, 2019.

Detective Garda Michael McGrath told Grainne O'Neill BL, prosecuting, that he had seen a Volvo car at a junction in Tallaght and recognised Cawley. A patrol car was moved in front of the Volvo and he got out to speak to Cawley. He said he asked Cawley to turn off the engine and get out.

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Judge's gavel (stock)

Judge's gavel (stock)

Judge's gavel (stock)

Det Gda McGrath said the car instead reversed and then drove straight at him and around the patrol car. The garda narrowly avoided being hit, while oncoming cars and pedestrians had to take evasion action. Garda observed the car driving at high speed until they lost sight of it.

The car was later found abandoned with evidence identifying Cawley inside.

Carol Doherty BL, defending, said her client had a difficult history, having lost his mother at a young age, but he was a man who has now turned a corner in terms of his behaviour and addiction.

Judge Karen O'Connor said the aggravating factors of the offence included the nature of the behaviour, putting the public at risk at a busy time of the day in a busy area as well as the garda who was carrying out his lawful duty.

She noted in mitigation his mother had died when he was 12 years old causing him to lose direction as well as a role model. She noted the progress he has made in custody and courses he has undergone. She noted reports in relation to his mental health issues.

Judge O'Connor imposed a total of two and half years imprisonment and suspended the final 18 months on strict conditions. She ordered that it be consecutive to his current term.

She noted his very young age, telling him he was making good progress and hoped he would take this opportunity but warned she would not hesitate to activate the suspended portion of the sentence if he came before the courts again.

Online Editors