Spell in prison has not worked for disqualified driver

Published: 16 Nov 2012 08:56

A spell in prison hasn't stopped Graeme Stronge from driving while disqualified. The 31-year-old from Morrow Park, Clabby, has admitted doing it again and now has three convictions for the offence.

Graeme Stronge.

District Judge Liam McNally said: "Obviously sending him to prison hasn't stopped him."

He told Stronge he hadn't made up his mind what to do with him.

"What I have to do is stop you driving and ignoring the orders of this court," he said, warning him that "if you keep offending I will send you to prison for a very long time".

A prosecutor had told Fermanagh Court that at approximately 11.25am on Tuesday, September 18, plain clothes police saw Strong leaving a chemist's shop in Tempo and getting into a silver Mercedes. He drove the car a short distance before stopping at another shop. He then returned to the vehicle and drove out of the village in the direction of his home at Clabby. The plain clothes officers contacted their uniformed colleagues who went to Strong's home. The silver Mercedes was parked in the yard and Strong was in the house. He was taken to Enniskillen Police Station and admitted driving while disqualified and without insurance.

Defence solicitor Daragh Montague said Stonge was on a run to the pharmacy to get a prescription for his father. He wouldn't have gone, but for his father's poor health.

"He hasn't access to any cars now," she added.

Miss Montague said Stronge was due to the begin the Probation Board's IDAP (Integrated Domestic Abuse Programme) the day after the court and submitted that it was "very important" he be allowed to do so.

The District Judge noted that Strong was almost a year into a period of probation imposed on him in September of last year when he committed these offences.

He also noted that the last time Stronge had appeared before him for driving while disqualified he had jailed him for four months.

He ordered Stronge to be taken into custody and placed in the holding cells while he considered his criminal record and a pre-sentence report by a probation officer.

After adjourning the court for a short time he returned to say the difficulty was that this was Stronge's third conviction for driving while disqualified. He told the prosecutor that the Public Prosecution Service should have taken the case to the Crown Court "where there is greater powers of sentencing".

He said Stronge appeared to have taken the deliberate decision to take a vehicle on to the road knowing quite well he was disqualified. He said he would normally send him to prison "but I have, and it hasn't worked".

He said he had been thinking of sending Stronge on the Probation Board's Think First programme but he was in breach of an existing probation order.

Adjourning sentencing until December 3, he warned Strong that just because he wasn't sending him to prison immediately, didn't mean he wouldn't.

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