Carrick-on-Shannon District Court.
“I’m absolutely satisfied she knew she wasn’t covered,” said Judge Denis McLoughlin prior to convicting Helen Joyce, 61 Oaklands, Carrick-on- Shannon of driving without insurance at a recent sitting of Carrick-on-Shannon District Court.
Giving evidence Det Garda Brian McMahon said on January 19 last he stopped a blue Vauxhall Zafira driven by Ms Joyce at Townspark, Carrick-on-Shannon.
The defendant produced an insurance policy at the scene but further investigation revealed the policy had been cancelled by Liberty Insurance on December 14, 2018 for non-payment.
Mark Doyle gave evidence on behalf of Liberty Insurance saying a policy was taken out on September 12 to cover a 12 month period. He added the policy was cancelled on December 14 due to non-payment.
The court heard from Mr Doyle that a registered letter was delivered to Ms Joyce informing her the policy was to be cancelled and she was later informed the policy was cancelled.
Addressing the court, Ms Joyce said she was unaware the policy was cancelled saying: “I’m dyslexic, I can’t read or write.”
She added: “I explained to gardaí I didn’t know the policy had been cancelled. If I knew it was cancelled I wouldn’t have been on the road.
“They wanted €4,000 off me and then my mother died and everything went awol.”
Having heard the evidence against the defendant Judge McLoughlin said: “Even on the basis of the defendant’s own evidence I am convicting. She clearly knew what the situation was.”
A further case of driving without insurance was brought against Ms Joyce by Garda Michael Guckian who informed the court he observed the defendant driving a motor vehicle on September 17, 2018 at Main St, Drumshanbo.
After speaking to Ms Joyce, Garda Guckian observed the three discs in the windscreen were out of date. The tax was dated 6/17, the NCT was dated 1/18 and the insurance disc was dated 8/17.
Garda Guckian made a requirement of Ms Joyce to produce her documents at a station of her choice to which she replied that she wouldn’t produce anywhere.
Garda Guckian subsequently contacted Liberty Insurance who said she was insured on the day in question.
The court heard from defending solicitor Martin Burke who said the defendant is a 40-year-old woman who lives at home with her nine children. Her partner had lived with her but was now in custody.
Finalising matters Judge McLoughlin said: “A prison sentence would adversely affect her and affect her children."
He imposed a €200 fine for what was her fifth conviction for driving without insurance and disqualified her from driving for a period of 10 years.