A 28-year-old man has avoided any additional time in prison after he was found guilty of a number of driving and drug charges at Fermanagh Magistrates Court.

Nathan Charles Phair of Castlebalfour Park, Lisnaskea was found guilty of theft of a vehicle, dangerous driving, driving when unfit through drink/drugs, possession of a Class B drug, no driving licence and using a motor vehicle without insurance.

The court heard that on November 23, 2017 a 999 call was received in which the injured party told operators his Nissan Navarra jeep had been stolen by the defendant and was being driven along Boa Island Road and he was currently following it in another car.

The injured party remained on the phone while police were dispatched.

The defendant drove the jeep towards Kesh. When he came to Kesh he headed towards Ederney. When the jeep got to Ederney it continued in the direction of the country.

While heading towards the country, the defendant tried to make a U-turn which resulted in the injured party colliding with the jeep.

The owner of the jeep got out of the car and went to the driver’s door and restrained the defendant until the police arrived.

The 28 year old was arrested but made no comment when interviewed.

A defence barrister representing Phair explained to the court that on October 23, Phair had been sentenced to four and a half years in prison at the Crown Court in relation to other offences which would see him due to be released in April 2020.

He added his client would be spending a lot of time in prison due to this “stiff sentence” and asked District Judge McStay to take this into account along with his client’s early guilty plea.

Judge McStay said the Crown Court sentence was “stiff but generous” and he was very conscious of not allowing “free crime”.

He added that Phair was a “relatively young man with a disastrous record which culminated in this lengthy sentence”.

Although he believed it was a lenient sentence handed down by the Crown Court, Judge McStay said it would be wrong to second guess a crown court judge and handed down the sentences to be served concurrently alongside his current custodial sentence.

For theft of the vehicle he handed down a four-month sentence and ordered Phair to pay £699 compensation to the owner for the damage caused by the crash.

For dangerous driving and driving when unfit, Phair was disqualified for two years while he was disqualified for one year for driving without insurance.

A one-month sentence was imposed for possession of a Class B drug while a £100 fine was handed down for no driving licence.