'chequered past' | 

Motorist who drove uninsured due to 'genuine threats to his life' jailed for four months

Blanchardstown District Court

Andrew Phelan

AN uninsured driver has been jailed for four months after getting behind the wheel because of "genuine threats to his life".

Sean Berkeley (37) had been advised to leave his neighbourhood and the best mode of transport was in a private car, a court heard.

Sentencing him, Judge Gerard Jones also banned him from driving for 20 years after hearing he had 16 previous convictions for uninsured driving and what his defence accepted was a "very chequered past".

The judge made the jail term concurrent to a prison sentence the accused is already serving.

Berkeley, a father-of-three from Kilclare Gardens, Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Blanchardstown District Court to three counts of driving without insurance.

Garda Sergeant Maria Callaghan said the accused was stopped driving at the Outer Ring Road, Clondalkin, on March 18, 2020, and had no insurance at the time.

He was caught again driving a car at Boherboy Road, Saggart, on March 26 that year.

Berkeley was again stopped on February 24 this year, by gardaí on duty in Saggart.

The accused was coming from the Slade Castle direction and again admitted he had no insurance.

Berkeley had a total of 128 previous convictions and had recently been given a three-month sentence and 15-year disqualification for uninsured driving.

Barrister Ciaran MacLoughlin said Berkeley accepted he had an unfortunate record and a "very chequered past".

Asked by Judge Jones to explain the reason for the offences, he said there were genuine threats against his client's life at the time.

"He was advised to leave Saggart at one point and the best mode of transport was privately in a vehicle," Mr MacLoughlin said.

Berkeley worked for a glass roofing company and was married with three children.

He had no addiction issues and was described as being of good character, reliable and hard-working.

Mr MacLoughlin said the accused had a history of anxiety, stress and impulsive behaviour. Notwithstanding his client's "very bad record", he asked the judge for leniency in the circumstances.

The judge said the sentence was to run from the date of conviction.

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