A BELLAGHY man caught driving whilst disqualified at the wheel of a tipper lorry pulling a three tonne mini-digger which was "not secured in any way" on a trailer has been given an eleven months jail term and banned from the roads for four years.
Stephen Thomas Porter (38), of Bawn View, admitted charges of driving whilst banned; using a vehicle in a dangerous condition and obstructing police by giving false details to police in Antrim town on September 3 last year.
A prosecutor told Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena (main picture), that although there were straps they had not been attached to the digger and it "could have become detached".
The defendant claimed he gave false details when he "panicked" because he knew he was a banned driver.
The court heard Porter was stopped five months after receiving a three year driving ban.
A defence barrister said Porter had taken a "chance" to drive on September 3 after he was "called in to work to move a lorry" and was "worried" he would lose his job if he hadn't done it.
The lawyer said the defendant is due to get married in July and any jail sentence would "perhaps be more detrimental" on his fiancee and their child as "she essentially relies on him for all the household bills , the mortgage, etc".
District Judge Nigel Broderick said Porter had an "appalling record" with 50 convictions.
He said it was the defendant's 9th conviction for driving whilst banned.
Judge Broderick told him: "You just don't give two damns about the court. You don't care what Orders the court makes, you will do whatever you want".
The judge said the new offences were in breach of two "significant" suspended sentences.
Judge Broderick jailed the defendant for two months on the new matters and activated the suspended sentences, making a sentence of eleven months; banned him from driving for four years and fined him £200.
Bail was fixed for appeal in the sum of £500.