A dangerous driver who reached speeds of up 160km/h during Garda pursuits has been given a four-year suspended sentence.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Mark Fagan (21) has turned his life around since the 2020 incident.
Fagan of Galtimore Park, Drimnagh, pleaded guilty to endangerment, dangerous driving, driving without insurance and possession of cannabis on July 7th and 8th, 2020.
He also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, drug driving and possession of cannabis on July 16th, 2020. Fagan, who does not hold a driving licence, has no previous convictions.
Passing sentence on Wednesday, Judge Orla Crowe said she was going to give Fagan “the chance of a lifetime” because of the very good progress he has made.
Judge Crowe sentenced Fagan to a consecutive term totalling four years for the offences before the court but suspended them in full on strict conditions including that Fagan engage with the Probation Service for two years.
He also has to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for four years and provide urine analysis as requested by the Probation Service. Fagan was disqualified from driving for four years.
During the sentence hearing in July 2022 a prosecuting garda told the court it was raining heavily on the night of July 7, 2020 and there was a lot of surface water.
While on patrol with colleagues in an unmarked car he saw a car approach at speed and it failed to stop despite gardaí activating their car lights and siren. The car drove at increasing speed and switched off its light while driving through red lights.
During the pursuit the car almost collided with a cyclist, at times drove on the incorrect side of the road, went the wrong way around a roundabout and drove at speeds between 100km/h and 120km/h through junctions on extremely wet roads. There was not much other traffic on the road.
The court heard he drove through “possibly five” red lights and reached a maximum speed of 140km/h during the pursuit involving four or five garda cars which lasted 10 to 15 minutes.
The car came to a stop when a driver got in front of him and Fagan was arrested. Cannabis was found in his possession.
On another occasion, Fagan reached 160km/h in a 60km/h zone in a 15-minute chase involving up to four Garda cars and a helicopter, the court heard.
Fagan was on bail for the first series of offences when this took place.
Mr Clarke said his client was aware what had happened was incredibly dangerous and he was lucky not to be facing a more serious charge.
Counsel said Fagan had not had the best start in life and had grown up in a situation where drug use was rampant and there were no rules, restrictions nor anyone to turn to. He said Fagan used cannabis to reduce stress due to his home life and cocaine to help him come out of his shell.
He asked the court to take into account the fact he has since dealt with his risk factors. He said he had taken part in a residential programme and was engaging well with the services available to him. He said Fagan had been offered help which he grabbed with both hands.
He said his client had been drowning but was thrown a lifebuoy and brought slowly to shore. He asked that Fagan be allowed on shore and re-join productive society.