Donegal man with 339 previous convictions caught drink-driving in Derry whilst banned from the roads

Court told that defendant's wife has 'put sanctions on him' following latest offences

Derry man jailed for assault on mother and father

Derry courthouse.

A 46-year-old Donegal man with 339 previous convictions today admitted drink-driving in Derry whilst banned from the roads.

Stephen Crerand, from Church View in St Johnston, appeared at Derry Magistrates Court in connection with the latest offences on his 'horrendous' criminal record.

The court was told that Crerand already has 187 convictions in Northern Ireland and 152 in the Republic.

The most recent offences happened in Derry on December 23 last year.

A police officer told the local court that on that date a car with a southern registration was observed travelling at speed along the Northland Road in Derry.

PSNI officers signalled for the car to stop.

When spoken to by the officers, the driver of the car gave his name as Paul McDaid.

He failed a preliminary breath test and was arrested and taken to Strand Road police station.

Subsequent tests showed that the car was registered to a Paul McDaid with an address in St Johnston.

However, when the driver's fingerprints were taken, it showed that he was, in fact, Stephen Crerand and that he had given police a false name.

Crerand refused to take a follow-up breath test and police enquiries with the gardai established that he had been banned from driving for six years in 2018.

He was then charged with obstructing police, driving whilst disqualified and without insurance or a driving licence and driving with excess alcohol.

Defence solicitor, Seamus Lannon, conceded that Crerand's criminal record was 'horrendous'.

Mr Lannon said Crerand's wife was 'absolutely appalled' by his behaviour and added that she has taken 'various steps' to 'put sanctions on him'.

The solicitor said that she 'was having confidence in his assurances that he had turned over a new leaf' since the 2018 matter.

Mr Lannon said Crerand's wife puts the incident in Derry down to a 'one off' when he 'lost the run of himself'.

“I can assure this court that his wife will take every single step that she can to ensure that he does not cross the criminal sanctions in future,” he said.

Mr Lannon asked the court to give Crerand an opportunity to stay out of trouble.

Deputy District Judge Anne Marshall noted that Crerand's criminal record in the North was 17 pages long, while his record in the Republic ran to 92 pages.

Of the 339 convictions, 76 were for driving offences.

“Your criminal record in relation to driving offences is absolutely appalling,” she told the defendant.

“You have absolutely no respect for the road traffic laws. You don't think the laws of the road really apply to you and you just do what you want.”

Judge Marshall noted that Crerard was involved in buying and selling cars.

This, she said, for someone who was banned from driving was the 'very definition of stupidity'.

Judge Marshall said she was willing to defer sentencing for six months to allow Crerand to complete a course proposed by the probation service and work with a training and employment officer.

She warned that he must stay out of trouble and said he would go to prison if he failed to do any of these orders.

If he completed the orders, Judge Marshall said she 'may' consider a suspended sentence in October as opposed to sending him to prison.

Sentencing was adjourned until October.

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