Castledawson mum given jail sentence for ignoring driving bans

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A Castledawson mum has been jailed for four months for “continuously flouting” a driving ban that was handed down by the courts.

Shauneen Gallagher, of Park View, appeared before Magherafelt Magistrates last Wednesday to face three separate cases of driving whilst banned - and a host of related charges.

During two of the incidents the young mum was said to be driving her silver Ford Fiesta whilst banned, but on the third occasion admitted to taking her partner’s car without permission.

Pleading for a non-custodial sentence, counsel said “she has fully accepted her guilt” before adding that the defendant was “sole provider for her child”.

In response, District Judge Bernie Kelly said: “She knew she had a child when she chose to do this.”

Outlining the charges against Gallagher, prosecution told court how on July 26 last year, she was seen driving a silver Ford Fiesta on the Hillhead Road in Toomebridge whilst disqualified.

She was also accused of having no insurance or an MOT certificate for her car.

On January 17 this year an off-duty officer who had previous dealings with the defendant reported seeing her driving through Magherafelt in the same car.

The court then heard how police checks had shown there was no insurance in place, the vehicle had no MOT and that the driver was disqualified.

Then on February 23, 2015 the defendant was seen for a third time, driving an Opel Astra from Castledawson’s Main Street on to the Moyola Road where police stopped her.

Checks showed that she also had no insurance.

It was later revealed that the car’s owner had not given her permission to take it.

Considering the sentence, Judge Kelly spoke of a woman who “deliberately” and “habitually” went out in a car despite the fact that she was disqualified from driving.

“It seems quite obvious to me what she was doing,” she told her defence.

“This has crossed the custody threshold without a shadow of a doubt,” she added. “It’s going to be deathly simple given the plethora of offences.”

Gallagher was sentenced to total of four months in prison and disqualified from driving for 18 months, after which she must resit and pass her driving test.

Judge Kelly also ordered her to pay an offenders levy of £25 and the car was destroyed.

Following sentencing, the mum lodged an appeal and was released on bail of £250.