A Lithuanian teenager who handed police a fake driving licence when stopped has been given a two-year disqualification and a suspended sentence.
The 18-year-old’s legal representative told court it was always going to come to the attention of police that the licence was fraudulent.
Mantas Metriakovas, of Umgola Mews, Armagh, pleaded guilty to possessing a false document, having no licence, driving without insurance and making a false declaration to gain insurance.
The city’s Magistrates’ Court heard on Tuesday that the defendant was detected by police driving a Volkswagen Polo at Umgola Heights on July 19, at around 8pm.
When stopped Metriakovas handed officers a Lithuanian licence which he claimed was genuine and an insurance policy from AXA.
Police suspected that the licence was a fake and arrested the defendant.
When interviewed at Lurgan Custody Suite Metriakovas stated he had completed a driving test in Lithuania two years ago.
The defendant denied all offences which police put to him.
Defence counsel branded this a “stupid offence” adding that he had now “explained how important it is to be legitimately on the road in this country”.
He also commented that Metriakovas had been warned that he faced not only penalty points but the loss of his liberty.
Corut was told that the defendant worked as a mushroom picker and has lived in Northern Ireland for around 18 months.
Speaking about the licence defence, counsel said: “It was not obtained in this jurisdiction, it was always going to come to police attention.
“How could someone of 18 years of age who has spent the last 18 months in this country have a full licence from Lithuania?”
District Judge Paul Copeland stated: “This is a concerning matter that you would wish to start your driving career in this country on a false document.
“This is a serious offence, an imprisonable offence, the possession of a false driving licence puts so many at risk.”
But he added: “On this occasion you have escaped custody due to this being your first conviction and your comparably young age.”
Metriakovas was sentenced to five months in prison suspended for two years and disqualified from driving for two years.
In addition, he was ordered to pay a fine of £500, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 20 weeks.