A judge has told a motorcyclist with a bad record he was not being sent to prison because on the day he was detected driving whilst disqualified he had tragically witnessed his brother dying in a road accident.
District Judge Liam McNally was speaking at Coleraine Magistrates Court where Grzegorz Cadler (40), of Meetinghouse Avenue, Maghera, was ordered to do 200 hours Community Service and was banned from the road for the next four years.
Cadler was in court for sentencing on charges of driving whilst disqualified and absence of insurance which he had previously pleaded guilty to.
Cadler, who runs a knife sharpening business, had been riding in a convoy of motorcyclists returning from the North West 200 road races on May 14 last year when his brother Krystian Cadler (20), who was a pillion passenger on another motorbike, was killed after a collision with a vehicle.
After the accident last year at Agivey Road between Aghadowey and Kilrea, Grzegorz Cadler, made an emotional visit to the scene to erect a cross in memory of Krystian and lay flowers.
Now, it has emerged in court, that Grzegorz Cadler was riding a Honda motorcycle that day despite being banned from the road and being uninsured.
A prosecutor said at 5.10pm on Saturday May 14 last year police attended the scene of a fatal road traffic accident and it emerged the defendant had been travelling behind in a group of motorcyclists returning from the NW200.
The prosecutor said subsequent enquiries revealed the defendant had been disqualified from driving.
Defence barrister Michael Smyth said his client has lived in Northern Ireland for some time and had a number of driving offences and had previously been banned from driving for five years for an excess alcohol offence.
On the day his brother died, Mr Smyth said the defendant was in no way involved in the collision and instead was following in a convoy.
Mr Smyth said the defendant had previously gone to Poland knowing there had been an earlier court case but was confused about the original five year driving ban.
When he made enquiries with police there, said Mr Smyth, his ban was not on their system and he was issued with a Polish driving licence.
Mr Smyth said the defendant returned to Northern Ireland where he was able to obtain insurance without disclosing his convictions.
On the day of the tragedy last year, Mr Smyth said the defendant “watched his brother being killed on the road in front of him” and he had been “badly affected” by it.
Imposing Community Service, Judge McNally said the only thing stopping him from sending the defendant to prison was that he witnessed his brother dying.
The judge said Grzegorz Cadler had a previous conviction for driving whilst disqualified and four previous excess alcohol convictions and he had breached a suspended jail term.
Judge McNally said he was not convinced that the defendant had done anything other than “cutely” obtaining a Polish licence.