Man lied about crashing car

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.
The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

A Dungiven man who led police to believe his car had been stolen after it was found crashed in a field has received a suspended sentence.

James O’Hagan, of Curragh Road in the village, pleaded guilty to careless driving and perverting the course of justice on October 5, last year.

Derry Crown Court heard the 26-year-old’s car was found by police after it was crashed in a field.

When questioned by police, O’Hagan claimed he had left his car keys at home while he went to a party and a local nightclub.

He also said he had got a taxi home and had not given anyone permission to drive his vehicle.

However, a witness to the crash had given O’Hagan a lift home and had seen him return to the car the following morning.

The 26-year-old spoke to the witness and admitted he had told police the car had been stolen.

Officers spoke to O’Hagan for a second time and he ‘came clean’ and admitted he had been driving.

He told police he had been tired and fell asleep at the wheel.

Defence barrister Seamus McNeill said his client had told a lie because he panicked.

He also told the court the 26-year-old had recently made an application to go to Canada and was worried about the effect on that application.

The barrister said it was ‘an obvious lie and he was always going to get caught.’

Judge Philip Babington suspended a six month sentence for 18 months. He also fined O’Hagan £400 and imposed seven penalty points.