A man who was on bail and disqualified from driving when he engaged in a high-speed Garda pursuit has been jailed for six years.
Kenneth Williams (38) was found guilty by a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court jury earlier this year of 20 offences which included dangerous driving, endangerment and criminal damage.
Williams, from Barry Avenue in Finglas, Dublin, who has 130 previous convictions, was already disqualified from driving at the time of the incident, the court heard on Friday. He plans to appeal his convictions.
Garda Robert Diffley told Eoin Lawlor BL, prosecuting, that on the night of March 26th last year, Williams was seen driving without any regard for traffic on St Margaret's Road in Finglas and a Garda pursuit ensued.
During the chase, Williams broke red lights on numerous occasions, driving over the speed limit and on one occasion driving 120km per hour in a 60km zone, the court heard. William turned off the car lights in the early stages of the pursuit.
He then drove a number of times on the wrong side of the road and drove against oncoming traffic at speed. William was seen undertaking and overtaking cars and a bus at speed. He also carried out handbrake turns and drove on footpaths, the court heard.
Gardaí deployed a stinger device during the pursuit, which caused the tyres on the left-hand side of the car to puncture. Williams continued to drive with two deflated tyres, the court heard.
When gardaí tried to box his car in on two occasions, Williams reversed into their patrol car.
When Williams’ car came to a stop for the third time, gardaí were able to open the car door and remove the car keys. The court heard Williams was aggressive, and gardaí used pepper spray to remove him from the car.
Patrick McCarthy SC, defending, said his client has mental health issues and suffered from PTSD due to a serious assault when he was 17 years old. He said his client had a difficult upbringing and that he first went into custody at the age of 17. He has three children.
Before his arrest, he worked with a group involved in mediating issues for the Traveller community, counsel said.
Handing down sentence, Judge Pauline Codd paid tribute to the courage shown by the gardaí during this high-speed pursuit.
The judge noted Williams committed a multiplicity of driving offences while also putting other road users at risk on the night in question.
She said Williams mounted the footpath, undertook other cars at excessive speed and that garda patrol cars were rammed on a number of occasions. She noted Williams has a number of previous convictions, was on bail at the time and does not seem to have learned from his previous incarnations.
The judge also noted that Williams had expressed no remorse and plans to appeal his convictions.
The judge handed down a seven year sentence and suspended the final year on a number of conditions.
Judge Codd also disqualified Williams from driving for 20 years.