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Man found hiding in ditch after cross-border car chase

A man who led fled across the border following a garda chase and was found hiding in a ditch by the  PSNI has been given a suspended prison sentence.
Pauric O’Neill (31) of Allygesh, Scotstown appeared at a remote sitting of Ennsikillen Magistrates Court on Monday charged with dangerous driving, having no insurance, no licence, and no MOT, and with failing to provide police with a breath sample for testing.
The charges arose from an incident that began in Aughnacloy at around 10.30pm on Sunday, April 5 when the PSNI were made aware of an incident in a shop. When they arrived they observed a black BMW driving off in the direction of Monaghan.
Once the BMW crossed the border, the Garda pursued it for a short time before the car fled back across the border again. The PSNI were able to bring it to a stop near Aughnacloy using a stringer device.
When the car stopped the driver, O’Neill, got out and ran away, while two other men remained in the car. Police found O’Neill hiding in a ditch of a nearby field. TheY noted a smell of alcohol from him, but when asked he refused to provide a sample of breath for testing.
O’Neill replied ‘no comment’ to all questions put to him by the police.
Defence solicitor Joe McCann said O’Neill had been at a party and had taken the decision to drive to the shop. While there he said the defendant’s friend had taken something from the shop, and they had fled police.
District Judge Steven Keown said the offences were very serious and in his view passed the threshold for a custodial sentence. Due to O’Neill’s early guilty plea he said he would suspended the sentence.
Judge Keown fined O’Neill a total of £300, disqualified him from driving for two years, and sentenced him to two months in custody suspended for one year.

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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