Banned driver Lyle Magolis was on his way to his mother’s bedside when he was caught behind the wheel
A drug driver was spared jail after a court heard he was on a mercy mission to take medication to his sick mother.
Lyle Magolis, 25, was already banned from driving, and was serving a suspended sentence when he was caught behind the wheel of a courtesy car on October 15, 2021. When police pulled him over in Blackpool, they noticed a smell of cannabis and asked Magolis if he was a drug user.
The driver confirmed he used cannabis and had smoked a joint earlier that day. Drug tests carried out at Blackpool police custody suite showed he had four times the legal level of cannabis in his blood.
Magolis pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified, drug driving and driving without insurance and appeared at Preston Crown Court to be sentenced. He also pleaded guilty to breaching a suspended sentence handed down by Judge David Potter in 2020 for unauthorised vehicle taking and driving while disqualified.
But Sharon Watson, defending, told the court Magolis committed the offence under “unusual and highly emotional circumstances”. His mother had been admitted to hospital and Magolis had been asked to take her inhaler, painkillers and insulin to her.
“He honestly believed his mother was in a great deal of distress in hospital, having been taken there in circumstances which were themselves very traumatic.. It was an ill thought out and rushed decision.”
Ms Watson said Magolis’s brother, who called and asked him to take the medication, had urged him to get a taxi. But Magolis could not afford the fayre from his home in Greater Manchester to Blackpool and decided to drive. His mother confirmed his reason for travelling to Blackpool and felt “misplaced guilt” for his position, Ms Watson said.
A progress report from the Probation Service said the defendant was complying well with previous court orders and had almost completed the unpaid work handed to him at an earlier hearing. Since his previous conviction he has been in employment and has settled down with his partner, who is expecting their first child later this year.
Judge Potter said: “On October 15 2021 you (Magolis) took the decision to drive a motor vehicle from your home in Greater Manchester to Blackpool and in doing so you drove while disqualified and without insurance. It is made worse by the fact you were heavily under the influence of cannabis and had a passenger.
“The circumstances were, however, wholly exceptional. You were effectively on a mercy mission. Your mother was in hospital in Blackpool and she was desperate to receive some medication, which you offered to take to her bedside.
He (your brother) implored you not to drive a motor vehicle yourself and urged you to take a taxi. You ignored that and decided to take a car and drive you and your passenger to Blackpool.”
The judge said the court was obliged to activate the suspended sentence unless there were exceptional circumstances which would make it unjust to do so. He said he was convinced Magolis’ case was exceptional “by the very narrowest of margins.”
Judge Potter said: “This was an exceptional piece of driving in the sense that you have taken a decision – wrongly, but in emotional circumstances – to drive a vehicle to deliver medication to your mother.”
He also said Magolis’ circumstances are different now than when the suspended sentence was imposed in 2020 and he now has significant family responsibilities. But he warned the defendant if there were any further breaches of the order he will be sent straight to prison.
Magolis was handed a further 80 hours of unpaid work for breaching the suspended sentence with 80 hours to run concurrently for driving while disqualified and another 80 hours concurrent for driving under the influence of cannabis. He was banned from driving for three years and ordered to take an extended retest before he drives again.
Judge Potter said: “This is an exceptional case and I am satisfied that in the last two years there has been much improvement in your life. Make sure this is not repeated. you know the consequences.”
- 05:45, 28 JUL 2022