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Newry gym owner to appeal four month ban imposed for driving whilst disqualified

Defence said his client had wrongly interpreted information on the government website NI Direct and blamed it on a 'genuine misunderstanding'

Declan Trainor Newry

A Newry gym owner is to appeal a four month road ban which he was handed for driving whilst disqualified.

Court heard the incident occurred after the 32-year-old wrongly interpreted information on the government website, NI Direct.

His solicitor asked the district judge to look upon this as a “technical breach” and a “genuine misunderstanding”.

Declan Trainor, of Rossmara Park, had pleas of guilty entered on his behalf to driving whilst disqualified and using a vehicle without insurance at Newry Magistrates’ on Wednesday.

Prosecution outlined that on December 8, at 10.33am, police stopped the defendant driving an Audi A7 on the A1.

Checks by officers revealed that Trainor was a disqualified driver, having been handed a two month ban at Newry Magistrates’ on October 12.

It was also discovered that the defendant was not insured to drive the vehicle in question. He was subsequently arrested and taken to Banbridge Custody Suite.

During interview, Trainor – recently before the courts for alleged breaches of Covid-19 restrictions – said he was aware of being disqualified but believed this was for a period of 56 days not two calendar months.

He also thought that he had insurance cover to drive the car through a trade policy.

District Judge Eamonn King asked what offence the defendant had been handed the initial disqualification for.

Defence solicitor Ciaran Downey stated: “It was a particularly high speed on the A1 which caused your worship concern on that occasion.”

The solicitor explained that, having been disqualified in his absence, Trainor had conducted research on the NI Direct website which led him to believe the ban would last 56 days, which would have been December 7.

Mr Downey stated that receipts and call logs for taxis in the Warrenpoint and Newry area, along with references from the defendant’s parents regarding their assistance, showed he “took every step”.

He asked District Judge King to look upon this as a “technical breach” and a “genuine misunderstanding”.

The judge said: “The only thing he did not do is consult the court or consult his solicitor, but I do have a degree of sympathy.”

Trainor was disqualified from driving for four months and was ordered to pay a fine of £500, along with the offender’s levy of £15.

Mr Downey made it know that the defendant wished to apply for bail to appeal. This was granted in the sum of £250 but no permission was given to drive pending this.

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