Ex-Garda told he will be jailed if caught behind wheel again

Chris Gildea appeared at Letterkenny District Court in Co Donegal
Ex-Garda told he will be jailed if caught behind wheel again

Stephen Maguire

An ex-Garda who led gardaí on a dangerous pursuit while he was already serving a 20-year road ban has been warned he will be jailed if he drives again while disqualified.

Chris Gildea, who had served the force for more than 35 years, appeared at Letterkenny District Court in Co Donegal.

The court heard that Mr Gildea, now aged 65, is already serving a 20-year road ban handed down to him in 2007.

On March 9th, 2020, gardaí were contacted about a car being driven erratically on the dual carriageway outside Letterkenny.

Gardaí responded and found a Peugeot 206 car weaving across the road.

Wrong side of road

The car then drove through a roundabout on the wrong side of the road.

At least one car had to take evasive action and was almost hit by the speeding driver.

The car picked up speed and was eventually stopped in the Ballyraine area of Letterkenny at Thorndale where gardaí arrested the driver.

Mr Gildea, of Thorndale, Letterkenny, was arrested and taken to Letterkenny Garda station where a reading of 158 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millitres of blood was recorded.

He was charge with dangerous driving, driving without insurance or a licence and also drunk driving.

Driving offences

Judge Paul Kelly said the accused had a “substantial back catalogue” of such driving offences in the past.

He noted that because of the previous 20-year ban, it would be 2027 at the earliest before Mr Gildea would be allowed to get behind the wheel of a car again.

Judge Kelly imposed two further four-year driving bans on Mr Gildea but ordered that the bans run concurrently to the ban he is already serving.

He also sentenced Mr Gildea to six months in prison but suspended the sentence and fined the driver a total of €450.

And he warned: “If he is found behind the wheel of a car again that will trigger the sentence”.

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