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‘Grossly anti-social’ Armagh man spared jail but told ‘there are no more chances’

Catalogue of serious motoring offences and two assaults admitted

Armagh Courthouse

An Armagh man charged with a litany of motoring offences and two assaults has been warned by a district judge: “There are no more chances here.”

Ryan Cassidy, of Killyfaddy Road, appeared at the city’s Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday for sentencing.

He was charged with taking a vehicle without permission, driving whilst disqualified, six counts of dangerous driving, six counts of driving whilst uninsured, failing to answer to bail, failing to stop for police, assault on police and common assault.

The offences were amassed by the 21-year-old over several separate incidents.

The court heard Cassidy had one live suspended sentence of three months which he had been handed back in March of this year for aiding and abetting stolen goods

District Judge Paul Copeland said as the only offence before him, which occurred after this imposed sentence, was one for motoring he would not be invoking the suspended prison term.

The first incident occurred on November 8 last year, when the injured party heard noises outside his home in the early hours of the morning.

He went outside to find the defendant and another male sneaking around.

When he confronted the two men they punched him in the head, before leaving.

Court heard that no serious injuries were sustained by the injured party, whose largest complaint being that of a sore lip.

The next offences occurred on New Year’s Eve at around 12.40am, when police saw a silver BMW driving out of a car park on to the Lonsdale Road, Armagh, before making off at speed.

Officers witnessed the vehicle swerve onto the wrong side of the road and estimated the car was driving at around 80mph in a 30mph zone.

Police checks found that the defendant was the registered owner of the vehicle and that there was no current policy of insurance on the car.

Later at around 5.40pm on New Year’s Day officers saw the same vehicle being driven along Barrack Street, sliding horizontally into the wrong lane.

Cassidy was stopped and spoken to by police.

He admitted that he did not have insurance and was subsequently taken to Lurgan Custody Suite.

The next offences occurred on January 8, when police were contacted about a BMW car racing another vehicle before performing doughnuts in a car park on the Portadown Road.

CCTV footage identified one of the drivers as the defendant who had been released from custody just three days earlier.

Then, on January 10, police were called to Dundrum Road, Keady, to a report of a vehicle crashing into a gate on a private lane.

Cassidy was later questioned and admitted to driving the vehicle on these occasions.

Again, on March 9, police spotted the defendant driving a BMW on the Annvale Road, Keady.

Officers attempted to stop Cassidy, but he sped up, moving to the wrong side of the road. It was at this point police stopped the chase as it was a risk to the public.

On June 9, the court heard that the defendant punched a police constable on the nose; the officer was visiting him for a bail check.

During interview he made no comment.

The most recent offence occurred on July 3 at around 3.50pm, when Cassidy was spotted driving a Volkswagen Caddy on the Portadown Road, Richhill – a vehicle which had been reported stolen by his father the previous day.

Police saw the car on the Kilmore Road, parked with its ignition still on and the defendant within the vicinity.

Cassidy’s mother had confirmed he had used the car to collect her and he was subsequently arrested at around 4.30pm.

Officers also found that there was a warrant out for his arrest for his assault on a constable from June 9.

Court heard the defendant had served the equivalent of four months in custody.

District Judge Copeland commented: “This catalogue of offences should see you in prison for a much longer time.”

Defence barrister Seamus Lannon said Cassidy was “considerably more contrite than he was in his first appearance”.

He explained the defendant’s stint in custody had given him “time to reflect”.

Mr Lannon added: “If the court follows the pre-sentence report, he would comply with any community service order.”

District Judge Copeland stated this type of behaviour was a “permanent threat to the community”, adding it was “grossly anti-social”.

He described the offences as a “catalogue of bad, serious and dangerous driving”, but saw “an acceptable level of contrition” from Cassidy.

District Judge Copeland warned the defendant that if sent to prison he could have received up to 18 months.

Cassidy was ordered to complete an enhanced probation order, which included 100 hours of community service and 12 months’ probation.

The defendant was also banned from driving for three years with District Judge Copeland warning him “there are no more chances”.

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