Tyrone man ‘knocking on the door’ of Maghaberry prison over insurance offences

Dungannon Courthouse
Dungannon Courthouse

“You are now knocking on the door of Maghaberry”, a district judge has warned a Clonoe man after he admitted driving without insurance for the sixth time.

East Tyrone Magistrate’s Court heard how Peter Gabriel McDonagh, 27, from Moor Road, was stopped by police in the early hours of November 7 close to Cookstown.

The defendant was informed that there was no record of insurance indicated for the Jaguar.

He replied that he had just bought the car and that there was a policy in place.

Mr Karl Mallon, defending, told the court that his client had provided a different account to Probation Board which said that he had borrowed a car from a friend in Belfast after his car had broken down. He said that McDonagh - whose wife is expecting their fourth child in three weeks - felt let down by the friend who said that he would be covered.

Mr Mallon admitted that this was the defendant’s sixth conviction for no insurance.

He described how his client had only ever been fined for his driving convictions and had never been given community service or a suspended prison sentence.

“At present Mr McDonagh doesn’t own a car,” Mr Mallon continued. “His wife does all the driving.”

He said that his client hopes to join the family business selling tools and furniture in Europe.

“Given the number of differing stories ... the court has some scepticism,” said Deputy District Judge Anne Marshall.

“This is your sixth conviction for no insurance in less than ten years.

“You are also in breach of a suspended sentence.

“You should’ve learnt your lesson. It beggar’s belief that you would be so stupid to bring yourself to the attention of police in this manner.

“You didn’t plead guilty and you contested this matter ... you are now knocking on the door of Maghaberry,” she concluded as she handed down a one month prison sentence which she suspended for one year.

She further banned the defendant from driving for eighteen months and imposed a £25 fine.