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Dangerous driver ‘could have caused fatal accident’


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Dangerous driver ‘could have caused fatal accident’ Dangerous driver ‘could have caused fatal accident’

It was “but for the grace of God” that an apprentice mechanic’s dangerous driving didn’t end in a funeral, a judge has said.

Judge Brian O’Callaghan said Cian Small (21) “put Gardaí’s lives at risk, put pedestrians at risk and put himself at risk” during an incident on the outskirts of Galway City in March 2021.

“His behaviour was nothing short of appalling,” the judge added.

At Galway Circuit Court, Small appealed prison sentences handed down by the district court for driving offences.

He continued: “It’s but for the grace of God that people were not going to a funeral because of his actions.”

Small, with an address The Cottage, The Lane, Killoughter, was convicted of driving offences including dangerous driving, drug driving, driving without a license and driving without insurance.

The offences relate to incidents near Polkeen, Castlegar on March 29, 2021.

Outlining the facts of the case, State Solicitor for Galway West, William Kennedy, said the accused was driving a blue Audi A6 that came to the attention of Gardaí.

Mr Kennedy said Gardaí attempted to stop Small’s car but he continued to drive at “excessive speed on narrow country roads”.

The car narrowly missed hitting a pedestrian before eventually crashing into a wall. Small took off running, but was apprehended by a Garda a short distance from the vehicle.

Mr Kennedy said a subsequent blood test showed 21.8 milligrams of cannabis per 100 millilitres of blood.

Defence counsel, Michael Clancy BL, said: “Mr Small comes before the court ashamed of his past.”

Counsel said the custodial sentence handed down by the district court was a “frank wake up call for Mr Small”.

Mr Clancy said his client has made significant progress since 2021, attending all appointments with the probation services and doing “above and beyond” what was asked of him.

Counsel said his client has attended a driving course and other training courses.

The court heard Small is an apprentice mechanic and positive testimonials from his previous and current employers were handed into court.

Counsel said his client is now negative of all controlled substances, contributes to society and is fully remorseful.

“He now fixes people’s cars, of all things,” Mr Clancy added.

Judge O’Callaghan noted that on the day of the incident, Gardaí attempted to stop Small’s car on three different occasions.

The accused showed “total disdain” for authority and people who were there to protect him.

The only positive aspect of the case is everything the accused has done, “belatedly”, since the offence.

The judge said the court will proceed on the basis of what the accused had done since 2021.

He affirmed the order of the district court but varied a three-month prison sentence from concurrent to consecutive. The judge said that left a total sentence of six months.

He suspended the sentence in its entirety. The judge said he was doing this because of a number of factors including the accused’s age and good work ethic.

“The court hopes he realises what he did and realises what damage he could have done,” he added.

Small was also ordered to pay €1,000 to the Garda Benevolent Fund.

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