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Armagh man spared driving ban; handed five month suspended prison term instead

An Armagh man who failed to pass his test three times has been handed a suspended sentence after being caught driving.

Court heard the 44-year-old, who considers himself a “slow learner”, had previously been handed six penalty points for no insurance despite never holding a full licence.

Kenneth David Gilmore, 44, of Monaghan Road, pleaded guilty to using a vehicle without insurance, being an unaccompanied learner, not displaying ‘L’ plates, using a vehicle without an MOT and taking a vehicle without authority at the city’s Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

It was heard the defendant was stopped by police on May 17 driving a Renault Scenic on the Monaghan Road, Armagh, which was flagged as being uninsured.

Gilmore told officers he did not have insurance, only had a provisional licence and the car, which had no vehicle test certificate, was not his.

During interview, the defendant also stated that he did not have permission to be driving the vehicle from the owner.

Court heard that Gilmore currently had six penalty points on his licence for a previous no insurance offence.

Defence barrister Scott McWhinney said: “This is an appalling record for someone who only has a learner permit”.

On the day in question, Mr McWhinney explained the defendant had got some “distressing news” and had gone for a drive to clear his head.

He added that Gilmore, who branded himself “a slow learner”, had failed to pass the practical driving test on three occasions.

Mr McWhinney said Gilmore currently relied on lifts to visit his two children and asked for leniency in allowing the defendant the ability to drive a 125cc motorcycle by not disqualifying him.

District Judge Paul Copeland stated: “This is an appalling record and you have been repeatedly reported for driving offences despite not having a licence”.

The defendant was sentenced to five months in prison suspended for two years.

In addition, Gilmore was ordered to pay a fine of £100 on each charge, along with the offender’s levy of £15.

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