Driver who got behind wheel for third time while banned handed jail reprieve

A South Tyneside driver who got behind the wheel for a third time while banned has been handed a last-ditch jail reprieve.

District Judge Zoe Passfield told Dominic Clark, 25, of Derby Street, she had considered putting him behind bars for his repeat lawbreaking.

But she decided to delay sentence after a last-minute plea by his defence solicitor, David Forrester.

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Mr Forrester claimed Clark had driven a Vauxhall Vectra in Wheathall Drive, Whitburn, only out of fear of attack on Monday, August 1.

South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

He also revealed his client suffered from serious mental health issues which required ongoing professional intervention.

Instead of jailing Clark, Judge Passfield ordered an all-options report into his offending, meaning he could still be imprisoned when sentenced.

She told him he was “skating on very thin ice”, adding: “This is the third time you’ve appeared at court for driving while disqualified in the last three years.

“Before I heard from Mr Forrester, my mind was to impose an immediate prison sentence.

“Mr Forrester has persuaded me that I need more information before I sentence you.”

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard Clark was convicted of drink driving, driving without insurance and driving without a licence in May 2019.

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In October the same year, he racked up his second drink drive conviction and his first for driving while disqualified.

And in February 2021, he was sentenced for driving while banned and without insurance.

At his latest court hearing, he pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.

Prosecutor Rob Lawson said: “Police were on patrol when they noticed a driver without a number plate. They pulled behind and pulled him over.

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“He was driving the car and it was found that he was disqualified and that his insurance was void.”

Mr Forrester said Clark committed his latest offences 18 months into a 32-month disqualification.

He added: “The genesis of this is mental health, and in June he was the victim of a stabbing.

“He says he was receiving further threats from a man who has since died. He had to get out of a property and drive.”

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Clark was granted unconditional bail to be sentenced at the same court on Tuesday, January 31.