West Belfast man with over 90 previous convictions jailed for dangerous driving incident

Stock image of Laganside court building in Belfast seen from across street
-Credit: (Image: Belfast Live)

A West Belfast man with over 90 previous convictions was jailed for seven months on Thursday over a dangerous driving incident.

Michael Mongan, 33, of White Rise in the Lagmore area, had pleaded guilty at Belfast Crown Court to a single count of dangerous driving.

The court heard that on July 19, 2023, police on patrol in a liveried vehicle were driving city bound on the Glen Road in West Belfast and observed a Peugeot car due to its “unsafely excess speed as it travelled round a roundabout”.

It was the prosecution case that the patrol called for extra resources to be drafted in as the officers believed the car would not stop for them.

The Peugeot then drove through a “solid red light” at the bottom of the Whiterock Road before performing an emergency stop in the middle of the road. The court was told the officers activated their blue lights and sirens and they manoeuvred their vehicle in front of the Peugeot at an angle in a bid to prevent it from moving off.

The prosecution said the officers witnessed two males in the front seats of the car and the driver was identified as Michael Mongan who was known to police but the passenger was not recognised. They observed two windows on the driver’s side of the Peugeot had been smashed. The subject car was then driven “aggressively towards the police vehicle colliding with it”.

“The vehicle then turned and sped off towards the Whiterock Road. It was driving at excess speed on the wrong side of the road, swerving between lanes and making dangerous overtakes on other road users,” said the prosecution.

The defendant was subsequently arrested. During questioning he claimed he had left his car two days previously and had been staying in Ballymena only noticing it had been stolen when police called at his father’s house, however he still had the key in his possession.

He denied driving the Peugeot and said police could have “mistaken him for one of his brothers”. The court heard Mongan has 91 previous convictions including 39 entries for road traffic offences.

Among the aggravating features, said the prosecution, was his criminal record, driving at excess speed and the offence occurred in a busy built up area with disregard for other road users. In written submissions to the court, Mongan’s defence said he had an enhanced status within Maghaberry prison and he had recently passed a drugs test.

Passing the seven month sentence, Judge Gordon Kerr KC said: “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this is a custodial case. The evidence against him, in my view, was quite strong.”

The judge also imposed a 15-month driving ban stating Mongan cannot drive again until he resits his test.

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