'madness' | 

Young Dublin driver who led gardaí on dangerous high-speed chase avoids jail

Joshua Bennet (21) drove around roundabouts the wrong way, drove directly at garda car, mounted the footpath and drove through a red light

Stock photo

Sonya McLeanSunday World

A young driver who led gardaí on a high-speed chase causing motorists and pedestrians to get out of his path to avoid being struck has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Joshua Bennet (21), who has no previous convictions, was trying to avoid the gardaí because he had no insurance, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard. Bennet drove off at speed, rather than stopping when gardaí ordered him to, in “a moment of madness”, his lawyers told the court.

Detective Garda Stuart Gleeson told Fiona Crawford BL, prosecuting, that there were three other people in the car when Bennet drove at speeds up to 140 km/hr in busy suburban streets around Blanchardstown and Dublin 15 at around 1am that morning.

Bennet drove around roundabouts the wrong way, drove directly at garda car, mounted the footpath and drove through a red light while a number of pedestrians were crossing the junction.

Det Gda Gleeson said one garda had parked his vehicle in Bennet’s path in an attempt to stop the chase but Bennet continued driving directly at the car, causing the garda to reverse at speed onto a nearby footpath.

Bennet also mounted a footpath, causing a number of pedestrians who were walking home from a nearby pub, to run into the driveway of a house for safety.

Det Gda Gleeson said the chase came to an end when Bennet took at sharp left at speed and skidded when he was unable to complete the turn. Gardaí caught up with him and he was arrested immediately.

Bennet of Bramblefield View, Clonee, Dublin 15 pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to five charges of endangerment and one count of dangerous driving on May 2, 2022.

At a sentence hearing on Thursday Judge Martin Nolan described Bennet’s behaviour as “appalling” and “extraordinarily reckless”.

“He endangered dozens of people and he didn’t stop until he lost control of the vehicle and the garda took him out of the car,” Judge Nolan said.

Referring to a submission from defending counsel David Fleming BL that Bennet was “a bad decision maker”, Judge Nolan said “what if he makes another bad decision? It is very hard to trust someone who has done this”.

Judge Nolan told Bennet that he was a very lucky man because he had not hit or injured anyone with his driving.

“You are getting a considerable chance,” he said. Judge Nolan said he was suspending a three year prison sentence on the basis of Bennet's youth and his lack of any other criminal conviction. He ordered that Bennet keep the peace and be of good behaviour for the three years and disqualified him from driving for six years.

More Courts

Latest Podcast

Latest News