Judge says he has responsibility to protect other road users after imposing jail term on man caught driving without insurance for eighth time

A JUDGE said he had a responsibility to protect other road-users after he handed down a four months prison term to a Ballymena man with eight convictions for no insurance and two for driving while disqualified.

District Judge Liam McNally was speaking at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday regarding Richard Bonnes (40), with an address listed as Lanntara.

The defendant had been driving a Volkswagen Golf at the town’s Antrim Road on June 5 this year when police spoke to him about insurance and it also emerged he was behind the wheel despite being banned.

Defence barrister Stephen Law said the defendant was a “self-taught” driver and never had a licence.

The lawyer said it was accepted the defendant had a “very bad record”.

Mr Law said his client, who works as a forklift driver, had not attended court when the previous disqualification was given and he knew he had been sentenced but was unaware of the “severity” of what happened because he had moved address.

The lawyer added that on June 5 this year the defendant handed the keys of his vehicle to police saying he didn’t want to drive any more.

Judge McNally said the defendant had bought a vehicle knowing he was uninsured.

The defendant was given a four months jail term and banned from driving for two years but bail was fixed for appeal on the sum of £500.

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