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Man given 18-month ban after being caught driving without insurance for the 13th time

His defence said: 'This is a young man with significant difficulties. He had a chaotic and unstructured lifestyle but he is now on the road to recovery'

A Newry man has been given an 18 month driving ban for his 13th no insurance offence.

The 30-year-old’s legal representative told court: “This is a young man with significant difficulties. He had a chaotic and unstructured lifestyle but he is now on the road to recovery.”

Alan Harris, of John Mitchel Street, pleaded guilty to fraudulently using a certificate of insurance, not displaying L plates and using a vehicle without insurance at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court.

Prosecution outlined that on September 15, at 1.45pm, police on patrol in Portadown observed a Volkswagen Passat being driven by a male on Bridge Street.

Checks on the vehicle revealed that there was an active insurance policy but this only named a female driver.

Officers followed the vehicle into a car park on the Garvaghy Road and they spoke to the driver, who identified himself as the defendant.

Harris handed police an insurance policy from Axa and a provisional licence. A female passenger was found to hold a full licence but it was noted that no L plates were displayed on the car.

However, police inquires later revealed that the insurance policy proffered had been cancelled on June 5 and a cash refund had been made on July 18.

Defence counsel stated: “He does have an extensive and relevant record, but this was a plea at the very first opportunity.

“There has been a significant drop off in offending since 2013. In those last seven years he had twice come to the attention of the authorities.”

He continued: “This is a young man with significant difficulties. He had a chaotic and unstructured lifestyle but he is now on the road to recovery.”

District Judge Steven Keown commented that it was the Harris’s 13th no insurance offence, before sentencing him to an 18 month disqualification.

In addition, the defendant was ordered to pay a fine of £700, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 20 weeks.

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