Jail for Cork motorist who drove on footpath to avoid gardaí while banned from driving

In another incident, Gardaí stood down pursuit in case an injury would be caused. 
Jail for Cork motorist who drove on footpath to avoid gardaí while banned from driving

Gardaí observed him driving and indicated for him to stop as he was known to be a disqualified driver.

A MOTORIST who drove his car up on a footpath in a busy area for pedestrians to avoid gardaí while banned from driving has been jailed for 10 months.

Tony Caufield, aged 24, of 221 Cathedral Road, Gurranabraher, Cork, has also been given another driving disqualification — this time for 10 years.

Sergeant Pat Lyons said at Cork District Court that, while gardaí arriving in the area indicated for the driver to stop, they did not continue a pursuit in case it resulted in further danger.

Caufield was arrested at a later time.

He appeared in court by video link from prison, where he pleaded guilty to charges arising out of this and a number of other incidents.

Shortly before 4pm on September 3 at Gurranabraher Avenue, gardaí observed Caufield driving. They indicated for him to stop as he was known to gardaí to be a disqualified driver.

“He drove up on the footpath causing a danger to pedestrians. Gardaí did not pursue him. They charged him on a later date,” Sgt Lyons said.

There was a similar incident six days, later when he was seen at 3.30pm on September 9 near Rathmore Road. Again, the garda who observed him indicated for him to stop.

Caufield drove aggressively, passing cars at the junction of Old Youghal Road and Goldsmith’s Avenue. He continued at speed, but gardaí stopped following him as he drove towards the entrance of the Christian Brothers College sports grounds.

“Gardaí stood down the pursuit in case an injury would be caused,” Sgt Lyons said.

Then on September 25, Caufield was a passenger in a stolen car being driven in the area. He jumped out and tried to run away.

In one further incident, dating back almost two years to November 10, 2019, he was found staggering along Blarney Street while armed with a screwdriver and a snips. He offered no explanation for this.

Caufield had three previous convictions for driving without insurance, 12 for dangerous driving, and one for stealing a car.

Solicitor Frank Buttimer said: “He accepted the Road Traffic Act offences are bad.”

In mitigation, Mr Buttimer said the defendant got out of prison in January and was clear of drugs and in good shape. He got a job, which he held down until June. Mr Buttimer said Caufield lost his job in June due to Covid-related reasons and fell back into substance abuse difficulties, which in his case were with alcohol, benzodiazepines and, to a lesser extent, cocaine.

Judge Olann Kelleher imposed consecutive jail terms totalling 10 months and he also imposed the 10-year driving ban.

The defendant said on the video link at the end of the sentencing hearing: “Thanks very much, judge. Thanks Frank.”

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