Banned driver said he was on the road after receiving ‘distress call’ from his elderly mother

A previously banned driver said he took to the road to make a short journey after receiving a “distress call” from his elderly mother who suffers from medical ailments.

Erwin Robert Birkmyre (49), of Sevenmilestraight in the Loanends area near Antrim, was detected in a Citroen Berlingo van in the area on April 6 this year.

He had been banned from driving for a year the previous May.

At the scene he admitted to police he should not have been behind the wheel.

A defence lawyer told Antrim Magistrates Court the defendant had received a “distress call” from his elderly mother who suffered from medical conditions.

The lawyer said the defendant’s mother had been in a “distressed and confused state” and his client made the trip from his home two and a half miles away.

The defendant was spotted by police on the return journey.

The defendant was in court for sentencing on charges of driving while disqualified; using a vehicle without insurance and using a vehicle without the permission of the owner.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said the defendant had put himself in great difficulty with the court.

The judge said he had sympathy for the defendant’s situation in caring for his mother which he said couldn’t be easy and he knew the strain that can place on relations.

In the circumstances he said he was taking “quite a benign approach” and banned the defendant from driving for a month along with £500 in fines.

He referred a suspended sentence regarding the defendant back to Craigavon Crown Court.

At the Crown Court in May last year the defendant was given a six months prison term, suspended for 18 months, after pleading guilty to causing grievous bodily injury to a female by driving without due care and attention at Ballycolin Road/Hannahstown Road near Belfast on February 16, 2016.

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