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Armagh man to appeal prison sentence for second drink drive offence this year

The district judge asked him: 'How many people are you going to have to kill before you get off the road?'

Drink-driving Armagh courthouse

An Armagh man is to appeal the four months prison sentence he received for his second drink drive conviction this year.

Also handing the 26-year-old a three year disqualification, the district judge stated: “How many people are you going to have to kill before you get off the road?”

Cormac Kelly, of Moy Road, appeared for sentencing on two counts of driving whilst disqualified, driving with excess alcohol and using a vehicle without insurance at the city’s Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry, on Tuesday.

Prosecution outlined that on June 10, police observed an Audi A5 stationary on the central line of the Cathedral Road in Armagh with a male in his 20s visibly upset in the driver’s seat.

Officers approached to speak with the male but he drove off. At 2.05am police attended the home of the last registered keeper of the car in question, this defendant.

Upon arrival, officers observed the Audi outside the property and watched as Kelly exited the house.

Police spoke to the defendant and noted that he smelled of intoxicating liquor. A preliminary breath test was conducted resulting in a fail.

Subsequent checks revealed that Kelly was a disqualified driver. When cautioned for the offences he told police: “I don’t care what you do.”

Whilst in custody, an evidential sample of blood was obtained which later gave a reading of 122mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood – the limit being 80mg.

Then on July 2, at 6.30pm, officers on patrol in Armagh observed a male they identified as the defendant driving the same Audi car but he made off before they were able to stop him.

Police later located the vehicle in a car park in the city. They subsequently arrested the defendant at his home.

When interviewed, Kelly insisted that he had not been the driver stating his uncle had borrowed the car, despite keys being found in a rucksack at his address.

Defence barrister Michael Tierney told court how his client had a good work history and had no criminal convictions up until the last 12 months.

He stated that Kelly had been disqualified on foot of excess alcohol in March of this year at Dungannon Magistrates’ Court.

Mr Tierney said: “He instructs that he was in a bad place and was having issues with his former partner…..he was unable to cope and through skewed thinking made one bad decision after another.”

Addressing the defendant, District Judge Bernie Kelly stated: “You have a child, so a drunk driver kills your son, what are you going to say to them? You were disqualified for drink driving in March of this year but the law didn’t apply to you.

“How many people are you going to have to kill before you get off the road? I have no option given the repeat offending and the aggravated feature of drink driving, for the protection of public above anything else”.

Kelly was sentenced to four months in prison and was disqualified from driving for three years. There was also a forfeiture order made for his vehicle.

Mr Tierney made court aware of his client’s wish to appeal the sentence, and Kelly was granted his own bail of £500 in order to do this.

Conditions included; not to travel in any private motor vehicle, not to enter licensed premises and not to consume alcohol.

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