A west Belfast man was today jailed for eight months after he was caught riding a motorbike while banned from driving.
Gerard Hugh O’Neill (22), of Moyard Parade, Sprinfield Road, pleaded guilty to driving whilst disqualified and having no insurance.
A prosecution lawyer told Belfast Crown Court that two police officers were on mobile patrol duty in the Whiterock and Springfield Road areas of west Belfast on August 3, 2013.
“One of the constables noticed a motorbike stationary at the lights and he thought there was something a little bit odd about it,” said the lawyer.
“He asked his driver to stop the motorbike only for the rider to take off and they gave chase down the road.
“They subsequently found the bike and rider on the ground. It appeared he had lost control of the bike.
“The driver of the police vehicle told his colleague that the motorbike rider was a disqualified driver. O’Neill was arrested for that offence.”
The court heard that O’Neill was disqualified from driving for five years in April 2010.
A defence barrister told Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland that O’Neill had got the bike and intended to sell it but took it onto the road instead.
He said that the defendant admitted during interview he was a disqualified driver and also admitted having no insurance.
The court heard O’Neill was in a steady relationship with his girlfriend who was five months pregnant.
The barrister added that O’Neill wanted to continue the relationship on his release from jail in the hope it would give him “some measure of stability” in his life.
He said O’Neill’s disqualification period was due to expire in April 2015.
Judge McFarland said O’Neill had 69 previous convictions – including 22 driving offences, four of which were for having no driving licence and one for driving whilst disqualified.
The judge told O’Neill that he was taking into account his early plea to the offences and said the appropriate sentence was eight months in custody.