Derry man drove after drinking poteen

A banned driver narrowly avoided knocking down children in a Derry street when he drove after drinking poteen

Bishop Street courthouse

Derry courthouse at Bishop Street.

A banned driver narrowly avoided knocking down children in a Derry street when he drove after drinking poteen, a court has been told.

John Moran was jailed for four months on Friday for the incident which happened at Hawthorn Drive in the Springtown Road area of the city on May 30 this year.

Derry Magistrates Court was told that Moran, who is 35 years-old and from Inch View in Derry, was arrested after people living in the area took the car keys out of the ignition.

Jailing Moran, Judge Barney McElholm described it as an 'outrageous episode'.

The court was told that police were callied to the scene after a '999' call on May 30.

Officers were told by local people that a car had driven into a cul-de-sac and narrowly avoided hitting children who were playing in the street.

The car came to a halt and residents took the keys from the ignition and contacted police.

Hawthorn Drive, Derry

The incident took place at Hawthorn Drive in Derry on May 30 this year.

The driver was identified and started being verbally abusive to the police officers.

He refused to identify himself to officers.

He was handcuffed and tried to headbutt one of the officers.

When being taken to Strand Road police station, Moran tried to bite one of the officers and also spat at another.

The court heard that when questioned in the station, Moran made full admissions to all the offences.

Defence solicitor, Ben Thompson, said his client wanted to express his 'sincere apologies' to everyone involved in the incident, including the children in the street, the mothers who confronted him and the police officers.

Mr Thompson said it had been highlighted that Moran had pleaded guilty at an early opportunity to all the offences.

The solicitor said Moran was a man who suffered from addiction and mental health issues.

Mr Thompson said he had been instructed by his client that he had not been 'compliant' with his medication at the time of the incident in May.

The solicitor said Moran had admitted that on the day in question he had been drinking poteen before getting in the car.

However, Mr Thompson said his client was currently not taking drugs or drinking alcohol and was seeking help for his problems.

Judge McElholm said anyone who chose to get in a car after drinking poteen was 'dicing with death'.

The judge highlighted that Moran should not even have been in a car since he had been banned from driving in November 2018.

In relation to the attacks on the police officers, Judge McElholm said they were 'very serious', particularly the spitting incident given the current concerns around the coronavirus pandemic.

Judge McElholm said there were 'many points' to be made in Moran's favour but that these could not override what he had chosen to do.

Moran was convicted of three charges of assaulting police officers, disorderly behaviour, obstructing police, resisting arrest, driving whilst disqualified, using a motor vehicle without insurance, taking a motor vehicle without authority and driving whilst unfit through alcohol.

He was jailed for four months and fined a total of £300. Judge McElholm also banned him from driving for four years.
“This was an outrageous episode,” said the judge.

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