District Judge mindful to impose jail sentence

A South Derry motorist caught driving while disqualified, had her sentence deferred until November 17 at Magherafelt Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 1:29 pm

Fifty-eight-year-old Lorna Johnston from Riverside South in Castledawson, also faces charges of not having insurance and withholding information to obtain a certificate of insurance.

The offences came to light after a car the defendant was driving was stopped in the Union Road area of Magherafelt on March 16.

District Judge Oonagh Mullan told Johnston, who appeared via video link from her solicitor’s office, that she was considering an immediate custodial record.

Court news.

Pleading for leniency, defence lawyer Brendan Kearney said the defendant is a mother of six adult children.

He explained she had a clear record up until her first offence in 2015 at the age of 52.

Mr Kearney said this coincided with the breakdown of her marriage after 22 years which had a serious impact on her mental health.

The judge remarked the defendant had breached a number of driving disqualifications in recent years which she found “concerning” as it suggested she had no respect for the road traffic regulations.

Ms Mullan said she was mindful to impose an immediate custodial sentence given the defendant’s record.

However, she decided to defer sentencing until November 17. The judge ordered an updated report from the Probation Service, and warned Johnston to engage with Probation and come back to court in three months time for sentencing.

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