An Armagh man who failed to comply with breath tests after being found asleep in his car close to midnight with an open bottle of whiskey has been handed a 12 month disqualification.
The 48-year-old’s barrister told court that after being unable to to cope with a stressful situation, the defendant had driven to a remote location to “drink himself into a stupor”.
Shane Thomas Haughey, of Killuney Meadows, had pleas of guilty entered to failing to provide a preliminary sample of breath, failing to provide an evidential sample of breath and being in charge whilst unfit at the city’s Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry.
Prosecution outlined that at around midnight on February 12, police located the defendant asleep in the driver seat of a vehicle parked on Navan Fort Road, Armagh.
Officers observed that the keys were in the ignition, the engine was off and there was an open bottle of whiskey in the front passenger footwell.
As Haughey exited the vehicle he was observed to be unsteady on his feet and his speech was slurred.
The defendant agreed to comply with a preliminary breath test but at first refused to open his mouth and then sucked on the mouthpiece.
This continued despite several attempts being made. Haughey was subsequently arrested and conveyed to Banbridge Custody Suite.
Whilst there, the defendant was required to provide an evidential sample of breath for testing and once more, despite multiple opportunities, failed to do so by instead sucking on the mouthpiece.
Defence barrister Michael Tierney commented: “This appears to be a case of one bad decision after another.”
He outlined that after being unable to cope with a stressful situation the defendant had driven to this remote location to “drink himself into a stupor”.
Mr Tierney stated: “He had no intention to drive. With the failure to provide he also thought by not blowing he would get away with it, which is simply folly.”
He added that Haughey’s licence was essential for him to take a family member to various hospital appointments.
Deputy District Judge Philip Mateer stated: “It is regrettable that as a result of his behaviour there will be an impact on the ease at which he can take [the family member] to hospital.
“But given the circumstances of the case, he was found in the back end of beyond with an open bottle of Jameson’s whiskey in the car and failed to provide any assistance in obtaining a sample.”
Haughey was disqualified from driving for 12 months and was ordered to pay a fine of £600, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 26 weeks.