Jail for Hazelbank man who led police on chase through Galliagh

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

A 22-year-old Derry man, who sped through the Galliagh area of the city, causing four cars to take evasive action and a man on a footpath to injure his knee as he dived for safety, has been jailed at Derry Magistrate’s Court.

Emmet Smith (22), of Marianus Park, was identified as the driver of the vehicle on March 27, 2016.

A Public Prosecution Service (PPS) spokesperson explained how police on patrol in the Glengalliagh Road area observed a Peugot 306 being driven dangerously near Bloomfield Park,

She said the defendant, had two passengers in the vehicle, another male and the defendant’s pregnant girlfriend.

The court heard how the car struck the police car at Bloomfield Park before speeding off through Galliagh, past the Templemore Sports Complex, and onto the Branch and Buncrana Roads.

Several cars were forced to take evasive action because Smith was driving on the wrong side of the road and one man sustained a knee injury having had to jump cler of the car car after it mounted the footpath at speed, the court heard.

The spokeswoman said Smith was later observed by the PSNI on April 13, in Waterloo Street and was arrested.

He made “no reply” to the charges on his arrest but later made admissions during police interview.

Smith also answered a second charge of taking and causing damage to a Peugeot 406 car, on August 4, 2014.

The court heard how Smith’s fingerprints were found on the abandoned vehicle; that he had initially denied all knowledge of the incident but subsequently pleaded guilty.

District Judge, Neil Rafferty, also noted that Smith was in breach of a suspended sentence

Addressing the man’s pregnant girlfriend who was in court, the judge said: “You are looking at me with a white face, fearful as to what I’m going to do. You’ve every right to be fearful.”

Recalling the fact that four vehicles had to take evasive action due to his driving and how the offence had been aggravated by the pursuit, District Judge Rafferty added: “This is a piece of driving that was so bad that it can only be dealt with by a custodial sentence.”

He sentenced Smith to 14 months imprisonment on the dangerous driving charge, disqualifying him for two years. He was fined £75 for having no driving licence and given three, three-month consecutive sentences for having no insurance; obstructing police and failing to stop.

“You are 22. The sentences are only going to get longer.”