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Suspended prison for disqualified driver caught driving sister’s car without permission or insurance

Defence said his record did include driving offences but these were 'from when he was a young man of 18 and 20 years of age'

A Newtownhamilton man who was caught driving his sister’s car without insurance whilst disqualified has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

The 45-year-old’s solicitor told court: “He does have a record and unfortunately it does include driving offences but I would ask your worship to note these are from when he was a young man of 18 and 20 years of age.”

Turlough Robert McAllister, of Cullyhanna Road, pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified, using a vehicle without insurance and taking a vehicle without authority at Newry Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Prosecution outlined that on March 7, at 3.40pm, police were on patrol on the Dundalk Road in Newtownhamilton, when they had reason to stop a Volkswagen Passat.

Officers spoke to the driver, who identified himself as the defendant. He informed police he had no licence, having been disqualified, had no insurance and the car belonged to his sister.

The vehicle was seized and during a notebook interview, McAllister made full and frank admissions.

Defence solicitor Tara Walsh stated: “He does have a record and unfortunately it does include driving offences but I would ask your worship to note these are from when he was a young man of 18 and 20 years of age.

“This is a man who was imprisoned on other matters. He has three adult children and he is estranged from two of them. He has maintained contact with his son but not his two daughters.”

She continued: “On the date in question, he was contacted by his daughter asking for help as she was moving house and he instructed that he jumped at the chance.

“He then took his sister’s car without her permission. It is not an excuse but he instructs at the time he felt like he couldn’t say no.”

District Judge Eamonn King sentenced McAllister to three months in prison suspended for 12 months, a conditional discharge for 12 months and disqualified him from driving for 12 months.

The defendant was also ordered to pay a fine of £250, along with the offender’s levy of £15.

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