Jail sentence for ‘cavalier’ Coalisland woman caught driving with no insurance in three different cars

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A Coalisland woman, described as ‘cavalier’ in court, has been given a suspended jail sentence for driving with no insurance in three different cars.

Michaela McCann, 25, from Lisnastrane Park, appeared at Dungannon Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

She was charged with driving with no insurance on three dates last year, May 21, October 3 and November 18, in three different cars, and also driving with no license, L-plates and an accompanying driver.

The offences all occurred in the Coalisland area, and involved a BMW, a Volkswagen Golf, and a Vauxhall. Her solicitor told the court that the defendant had committed a catalogue of offences, aggravated by one previous no insurance charge when McCann was 16 in 2008.

He stressed that since the first offence the defendant had shown no interest in having a driving career. However, she was cajoled into getting a provisional driving license by her late mother, who at the time was suffering from cancer.

Unfortunately, she failed the driving test and was unable to obtain a full driving license. As her mother became increasingly ill, her caring duties increased, culminating in her mother’s death.

“She concedes that she took risks she shouldn’t have, but she found it very difficult after her mother’s death to sit at home”, said the solicitor.

She had lost her job and was assaulted after a night out in Cookstown.

He went on to say that the defendant was disappointed to have her behaviour described as ‘blasé’ in her probation report. She was trying to be as candid as possible during her interview and this was misconstrued”, he said.

He also told the court that McCann had recently been offered new employment and was hopeful of being able to start the job.

“She has no current plans to have a driving career and is determined not to reoffend”, he said. “She is a young lady who is trying to cope with the loss of her mother at a young age.”

However, Judge John Meehan was unimpressed by the defence case, saying that he sympathised with her loss but it did not even approach an explanation for her ‘cavalier’ driving behaviour.

“These offences were committed not just once with one vehicle, but with three over the space of a year. And the only explanation you can manage is that you were bored at home.

“I have rarely seen such complacency in an offender. The question is how does one stop such behaviour. This is too serious a case, and there must be a clear challenge to people like you.”

The judged fined her £770 for the offences and sentenced her to three months in jail suspended for two years.