'Bobby of the family Sludds' may be jailed
GIVEN SEVEN DAYS TO SIGN PEACE BOND TO AVOID PRISON TERM AFTER PICKING UP TWO CONVICTIONS
Published 14/09/2011 | 11:17
BOBBY SLUDDS, Bobby Oliver Sludds or Bobby of the family Sludds - call him what you like, a blizzard of legal paperwork could not stave off two motor insurance convictions and a series of fines imposed on the man from 11 Ballagh Cove in The Ballagh last week.
And Sludds faces a decision on one final piece of legal paperwork as he was given seven days to sign bonds binding himself to the peace, or else face seven months in jail.
The prosecution was brought by Garda Michael O'Grady against the colourful and articulate defendant for offences committed in The Ballagh during April and May of last year. However, before the Garda could give his evidence, the accused handed in a letter and stated that he was not Mr. Sludds. He also queried the use of the word 'person' in the charge, to no avail.
He said he was not Bobby Oliver Sludds - whom he described as 'a fictional entity' - and preferred to be known as Bobby of the family Sludds. Judge William Early accepted this and marked the charges 'also known as Bobby of the family Sludds' before using this form of address throughout the rest of the proceedings.
The case continued, with the judge taking time to read a number of documents handed up to him by the accused. He also heard Bobby of the family Sludds, who came to court with at least eight supporters, quote passages from 'Black's Legal Dictionary'.
Garda O'Grady told how he first came across a blue Honda Civic bearing the registration BS PFN in Ballinamona on April 28 last year. The driver pointed a camera at him, when he approached. Insurance, motor tax and NCT summonses followed against Sludds who told the officer at the time he was a 'free man travelling, not driving'.
Michael O'Grady reported that that BS PFN appeared to stand for 'Bobby Sludds, Private Free Man'. A more conventional registration plate, 91 WX 3554, was in the back of the Honda.
Further summonses were issued after vehicle BS PFN was seen on the road once more a few weeks later on May 19 at Castle Ellis. The Garda turned on his blue flashing lights and followed the defendant to Ballagh Cove.
The accused refused to supply name or address and again said that he was ' travelling'. However, he did admit that there was an engine in the vehicle and a steering wheel in his hand. No evidence of insurance cover or driving licence was ever produced.
A various stages during the hearing, the accused described the prosecution case as negligent and the Garda testimony as falsified. He said he felt that the force was conspiring against him. He applied for an adjournment to allow him produce video evidence. When this application was unsuccessful, he called for trial by judge and jury.
Judge Early explained that he was not entitled to any such trial before finding the case against Bobby of the family Sludds proven. The court learned that the defendant had 24 previous convictions for motoring offences, including two for driving without insurance.
Sludds said he was not working. He dismissed the State as a fictional entity. He asked: 'Have I offended anyone here?', prompting a chorus of 'No' from his supporters.
' The people have spoken,' he concluded.
The judge concluded otherwise, imposing €670 in fines for the lack of driving licence, motor tax and NCT. He recorded a three month jail sentence on the first insurance charge, suspended on Bobby of the family Sludds entering a bond to be of good behaviour for two years. On the second insurance charge, the sentence was four months, suspended on similar conditions.
The accused indicated that he intended to consider whether to sign. The judge offered him free legal aid but Bobby of the family Sludds said this was not necessary.