A Dungannon man has narrowly avoided losing his licence after being “particularly imaginative” for the reasons for driving without insurance, East Tyrone Magistrate’s Court heard on Wednesday.
“I’m very close to disqualifying him,” District Judge John Meehan told the barrister defending Steven Frizelle, 33, from Brookfield Road, adding that he believed the defendant to have been “particularly imaginative” when describing the background to the case.
The court heard how, on the early evening of July 24, police stopped Mr Frizelle at Brookfield Crescent after their records indicated that there was no insurance in place for the Vauxhall Astra in which he was sitting.
The defendant was recorded as stating that his policy had “just run out”.
A check by police in August showed that Frizelle had never produced evidence of a valid licence to any station as he had been asked during the original incident.
The defendant was appearing at East Tyrone Magistrate’s Court to contest charges of no driving licence, failure to produce his licence, and having no insurance.
However, before the contest started he produced a valid licence leading the Public Prosecution Service to withdraw the first charge.
Mr Fintan McAleer, defending, then pleaded guilty to the remaining allegations on his client’s behalf.
“It is December 5th when he finally gets around to getting a duplicate licence. That usually takes a fortnight... and £30 of course,” commented Judge Meehan who also noted that the valid insurance produced was as a named driver on his girlfriend’s mother’s policy which began in November.
“What happened between July and November? What happened to this Astra?” he asked.
“It was scrapped,” replied Mr McAleer. “He was leaving his girlfriend home. They live on the same street and it was a bad day.
“Previously the car had been attacked and vandalised by fire. That was why he let the insurance lapse.
“He is presently unemployed and living with his sister. He is not seeking benefits but has a job waiting for him... as an HGV driver. He has a seven-year-old daughter from a previous relationship.”
Deliberating over sentence, Judge Meehan said, “I’m very close to disqualifying him. He provides no corroboration for the scrapping... so he won’t mind if I make a forfeiture order.
“He goes on to say that the car is damaged by fire... which is not backed up in the papers. This is particularly imaginative on his part.
“A considerable cost to the public purse could have been avoided if he had produced his licence or accepted fixed penalties back in July.
“On balance, however, he has nothing previous,” he said before handing down fines totalling £420 as well as eight penalty points.
An offender’s levy of £15 was also imposed.