Jail for dangerous driver with 190 previous convictions

A man with 190 previous convictions who drove dangerously during a high-speed chase with Gardaí has been jailed for two and a half years.

Dean Joyce (24) was convicted in February after a second trial. The jury in his first trial was discharged after a juror fell asleep 15 minutes into the trial.

Joyce, with an address in Rowlagh Park, Clondalkin, Dublin, had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 11 charges, including endangering Gardaí by driving his car into a Garda van, four counts of dangerous driving and possession of stolen property in Ballyfermot and Clondalkin on March 3, 2015.

He had also pleaded not guilty to driving without a licence, driving without insurance, possession of a boxcutter that was used in a burglary, criminal damage of a garda van and failing to stop for gardaí on the same date.

During the trial, Judge Karen O'Connor directed that Joyce be found not guilty of the offence of endangerment. The jury later convicted him of all other counts.

Judge O'Connor today said members of the public had been placed at risk and Joyce had created a hazard for members of the Gardaí carrying out their duties as a result of his dangerous driving. She told Joyce he was “old enough to know better.”

Judge O'Connor imposed a total of three years imprisonment and suspended the final six months on strict conditions. She disqualified him from driving for ten years.

Garda Sergeant Ronan McDermott told Garret Baker BL, prosecuting, that he was in an unmarked patrol car when he spotted a car driven by Joyce breaking a red traffic light.

Garda McDermott said Gardaí activated the sirens but Joyce failed to stop and a high speed pursuit began. During this chase Joyce drove the car through red lights, on the wrong side of the road and in the wrong direction around a roundabout.

Joyce's car collided with a Garda van at the Blackditch Road in Ballyfermot, causing €1,500 worth of damage. The car then mounted a footpath and stopped in a nearby housing estate.

Joyce ran off but was arrested. Gardaí searched the car and found a boxcutter knife, gloves and stolen property including laptops, an iPad, a flat screen TV and keys to another car.

Garda McDermott testified that Joyce's previous convictions included theft, criminal damage, robbery and using or possessing a mobile phone in prison. He has over 70 convictions for road traffic offences including driving without insurance.

Pieter LeVert BL, defending, said his client began abusing drugs and driving stolen cars at an early age. His parents died when he was in his teens and his grandparents raised him after that. He handed a letter from Joyce's grandmother into court.

Counsel said he began dabbling in alcohol and tablets but this progressed to a cocaine habit.

Joyce was recently jailed for other offences and this time in prison had been “the making of him”, counsel said.

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