Newbridge man jailed for garda car chase dangerous driving loses sentence appeal

"Committed persistent offender" with 51 previous convictions banned for 20 years

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Newbridge man jailed for garda car chase dangerous driving loses sentence appeal

A “committed persistent offender” from Newbridge, jailed for dangerous driving during a “mad cap chase”, has lost a sentence appeal.

Larry Connors (23), of Rathcurragh, Newbridge, Co Kildare, had pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to endangerment and dangerous driving in Dublin on May 1, 2014.

He was sentenced to six years imprisonment with the final two suspended by Judge Pat McCartan on June 24, 2016. He was also banned from driving for 20 years.

Connors had an appeal against sentence dismissed today, Friday, March 31, with the Court of Appeal holding that the sentence was within the Circuit Court judge's discretion.

Giving judgment in the Court of Appeal, Mr Justice John Hedigan said Connors was observed travelling west bound along the N81, weaving in and out of traffic and overtaking other vehicles.

Gardaí activated their lights and sirens and gave pursuit.

Connors passed through the junction of the M50. It was not dark and conditions were good. 

Garda Enda Waters managed to drive alongside Connors vehicle and the garda described the “deliberate ramming” of his car, Mr Justice Hedigan said.

The vehicle was insured and registered to Connors. Mr Justice Hedigan said Connors was disqualified from driving at the time of this offence.

Connors was 22 at the time of sentence and had 51 previous convictions, 44 of which were for road traffic offences. He was one of 16 children. He was married in October 2015, but in February 2016 his wife returned to the UK.

The sentencing judge noted that Connors had not turned up to court and had dragged proceedings out. He pleaded guilty on the fourth trial date.

The mitigating factors were his guilty plea and that he came from “particularly difficult circumstances”.

The sentencing judge considered it to be a serious case involving a “mad cap chase” which could have lead to serious injury or death for the persons involved or innocent members of the public.

The sentencing judge noted that Connors was a “committed persistent offender”.

Mr Justice Hedigan said deterrence must play a part in sentencing and it might be considered that Connors had shown himself “very difficult to deter” given his “very bad” record.

Moreover, Mr Justice Hedigan said the courts must make clear that “wild driving” was unacceptable. He said the sentence imposed was within the judge's discretion.

Mr Justice Hedigan, who sat with Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice Alan Mahon, said the court would not interfere with the sentence and the appeal was therefore dismissed.