Reduced driving ban given due to hardship

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A 48-year-old man escaped a six-month driving ban at Banbridge Magistrates Court after a judge agreed it would create exceptional hardship.

Instead David Stephen Lyness, of Rathview, Banbridge, was disqualified for one month for not having insurance on July 8 last year.

He was also fined £100 and ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy.

The court heard that a routine police patrol on the Cline Road, Banbridge, spoke to the defendant who accepted he had no insurance.

He said he was just taking a chance and going to the shop and there was no chance of this happening again.

A solicitor representing the defendant said her client had a previous conviction for a no insurance offence.

On the points system another six points for the new offence would put him on 12 and mean a six-month ban.

She explained that Lyness cared for his two elderly parents and she called him into the witness box to give evidence.

The defendant said his mother, who was 77, was very ill and was in and out of hospital while his father who was 76 had suffered from prostate cancer.

He explained that he helped his father on his farm. His parents lived in a rural area at Portadown and there was no public transport.

The solicitor said a disqualification would cause extreme hardship to the parents because her client helped them in running the farm and attending medical appointments.

Deputy District Judge T. Browne said he was ‘just about persuaded’ and imposed a one-month ban.

He added that there was an element where the defendant used his parents’ illness to get himself out of a hole but the excuse would not wash again.