24 May 2022

Polish immigrant either ignored driving disqualification order or didn't understand it

Non-national either ignored driving disqualification order or didn't understand it

Polish immigrant appeared before appeared before Cashel District Court

A 45-year-old Polish immigrant appeared before Cashel District Court for drink driving and driving without insurance cover or a driving licence near Cahir, County Tipperary, three months ago.

Slawomir Zabek of 6 Woodland, Barnora, Cahir, pleaded guilty to committing these driving offences at Cloughabreeda, Cahir on October 4, 2019.

Sgt. Carol O’Leary said Gda. Pat Coffey saw a car exit the motorway at this location at 8.20pm on the date in question.
The car was being driven erratically and Gda. Coffey stopped it, arrested the driver Mr Zabek and brought him to Cahir Garda Station where he provided a blood sample. The sample showed there was a concentration of 228mgs of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his body.

Sgt. O'Leary added that Mr Zabek had three previous drink driving convictions and received a six-year driving ban in 2017. The first conviction was imposed in 2008.

Defence solicitor Aidan Leahy appealed to Judge Finn not to impose a custodial sentence on his client. He said Mr Zabek worked full-time and had three young children. He had been attending meetings in Clonmel in relation to his addiction since he was stopped by Gda. Coffey.

He pointed out that his client paid for insurance but he advised him it wasn't valid. He obtained the insurance through a broker. It seemed to be an (insurance) renewal.

On hearing this evidence, Judge Terence Finn said he was concerned that driving disqualifications imposed by the court didn't appear to resonate among non-nationals.

“These convictions recorded against your client were all in this court area, which required him to attend court and hear and see the proceedings.”

He pointed out it has never been his practise to impose driving licence disqualification when the defendant is not present in court.

Mr Zabek either ignored the disqualification order or didn't understand it. “I am not letting this one go Mr Leahy,” he declared.

Mr Zabek required the assistance of an interpreter at the court hearing.

The judge adjourned the case to Cashel Court sitting of February 13 to seek clarification on the insurance Mr Zabek obtained and on whether his driving licence was Polish or Irish.

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