A 30-year-old disqualified driver who stupidly got behind the wheel when police handed him the keys to his friend's car has been jailed for eight months.
Derek McCordick, of Moybrone, Enniskillen, appeared at Fermanagh Court by video link from Maghaberry Prison and admitted driving while disqualified and without insurance on two occasions.
A prosecutor explained that around 2.30pm on Tuesday, October 23, a security officer on duty at Enniskillen Police Station saw McCordick getting into a Volkswagen Golf on the forecourt of the Lakeside Service Station and moving the vehicle.
The prosecutor told the court that less than a fortnight later, on November 2, an off-duty police officer saw McCordick riding a quad along the Moybrone Road at Letterbreen and turning on to the main Sligo Road.
McCordick was interviewed on November 28, and admitted driving the Golf but denied driving the quad.
Defence solicitor Richard Monteith described the first incident as "somewhat unusual". He said McCordick had been a passenger in the Golf and the driver had gone into the police station. An officer handed the keys to McCordick and he went out and moved the car 20 yards.
"It was blank stupidity but nothing worse than that," submitted Mr. Monteith.
He said that on the second occasion McCordick had the loan of a friend's quad and didn't have insurance.
Mr. Monteith said the last significant relevant entry on McCordick's criminal record was in August 2009, for dangerous driving, while disqualified and with excess alcohol "so aggravating features there".
He urged District Judge Liam McNally not to impose a period of disqualification that would extend McCordick's current five-year disqualification beyond August 2014.
However, the District Judge pointed out that McCordick is already subject to an eight-year ban, until 2016, and in breach of a suspended prison sentence imposed at the Crown Court.
He said that looking at McCordick's criminal record there were repeated offences of driving while disqualified and the case should have been dealt with at the Crown Court, which has wider sentencing powers.
"The maximum I can impose is six months imprisonment," he stated.
Mr. Monteith said the offences showed "immaturity and stupidity", pointing out that in relation to driving the Golf, McCordick told police: "I just moved it because it was causing an obstruction."
The District Judge said: "He just shows a complete disregard for any court order."
He told McCordick: "Your record in relation to driving is appalling."
He remanded him in custody until January 14, and to Omagh Crown Court so it can decide what to do about his breach of the suspended prison sentence.