Two men driving at speeds of up to 220 kph on the M4 motorway in March 2018 have each been jailed for five months.
Adam Siembida (36), 66 Radharc an Mhuilinn, Rathwire, Killucan, County Westmeath, and his neighbour, Marek Zagaja (42), 64 Radharc an Mhuilinn, Rathwire, Killucan, County Westmeath, had appeared at Kilcock District Court on November 20.
They pleaded guilty to dangerous driving on March 8 of this year at Mill Farm on the M4.
At a previous hearing, the Court heard the men were seen speeding on the M4 and were weaving in and out of traffic at different points.
A Garda said the men had come from Ballymount off the M50 after finishing a work shift at 2am in the morning M50 and were “racing each other” home.
Video evidence was shown to Judge Desmond Zaidan who was told the two men were driving a Mercedes and a BMW respectively.
The Court heard there was a lot of traffic, trucks and vans on the road at the time, and that snow was piled up, higher than the wheels of the cars, on the median and side of the road. He noted that it took six seconds for the cars to move from 130 kph to 206 kph and Gardai travelled at 220 kph as they pursued and got the men to stop.
The case was adjourned on November 20 and when it resumed on December 4, a legal representative for the men said they “simply owned up” when confronted by Gardai and had no explanation for their behaviour.
Their barrister argued that disqualification from driving would be a sufficient punishment because of their circumstances and its effect on their jobs.
Both have been in Ireland since 2003/4 and Mr Zagaja had a traffic offence from 2009, when he was disqualified. The barrister said he would find it very difficult to keep his job.
The court heard Mr Siembida has a mortgage.
Giving his judgement, Judge Zaidan said: “Both need time to reflect about life and death. Life is precious. They were a danger to themselves, to Gardai who gave chase and to members of the public. If they had no respect for their own lives it is morally and legally wrong that they should be dicing with the lives of others..”
Judge Zaidan said this was at the “upper end” of the dangerous driving offence.
He jailed both men for five months. The maximum prison sentence for dangerous driving is six months. He disqualified both from driving for four years, two years beyond the minimum mandatory period. He also ordered that both resit their driving tests before they are legally allowed to drive again.