A teenager who crashed into a stationary Garda Special Branch car, which was escorting former Taoiseach Brian Cowen, during a high-speed garda chase has today avoided a jail term at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
He refused to stop the stolen Mazda 323 he was driving when ordered to do so by gardaí.
He then sped off before crashing into the side of the unmarked patrol car that was stopped at traffic lights.
The then 16-year-old continued to drive at high speeds, breaking red lights and ignoring stop signs, driving the wrong way around roundabouts and forcing his way in and out of busy lanes of traffic.
Many motorists had to take evasive action, but nobody was injured during the chase.
The youth, of Croftwood Park, Ballyfermot, pleaded guilty to three charges of dangerous driving in the Dublin 8 area and driving a car without the consent of the owner on November 18, 2010.
He had no previous convictions and has not come to Garda attention since.
Judge Petria McDonnell said it was a very serious offence and it was "lucky no one was injured".
She accepted that a probation report concluded that he is at a low risk of re-offending and is no longer associating with the youths he had been at the time.
Judge McDonnell acknowledged that both the defendant's parents and his grandfather had died in the last few years and commented that he had "a lot to be dealing with".
She said it was "welcome news" that he is now doing a course and advised him "at the end of the day, it's your life" before she sentenced him to 12 months in prison but suspended it in full on condition the he stay out of trouble for that period.
Garda Cathal McNamara told Derek Cooney BL, prosecuting, that the Mazda pulled in front of his patrol car when he was on St John's Road West in Dublin 8 but the teenager refused to stop the vehicle when he signalled him to do so.
He said the resulting pursuit came to an end in Ballyfermot when the Mazda mounted a kerb and drove into a field after the youth drove the wrong way round a roundabout.
The defendant and his two passengers jumped out of the car but the teenager was arrested a short time later hiding in a nearby garden.
Gda McNamara agreed with James Dwyer BL, defending, that the people the teenager was with that day were more experienced in driving stolen cars than he was.
He further agreed that his driving on the day was extremely dangerous and unskilled.
Mr Dwyer said the defendant's mother, father and grandfather, have all died recently but that his cousin has accompanied him at every court sitting since his arrest.
He said his client was very lucky that he had not visited "injury or death on a fellow citizen".
Mr Dwyer said his client has now started a new course and added "this 16-year-old boy has now become an 18-year-old man".