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HGV driver given 12 month ban after being caught behind wheel while over twice the limit

Court heard how he claimed he was chasing people he suspected of being involved in 'criminal activity'

Lorry depot

A Collone man who was caught over twice the limit claims he was chasing people he suspected of “criminal activity”.

Addressing the 40-year-old, who is an HGV driver by profession, the district judge stated: “It is a shame to see a man like yourself before the court, a man with no record who has been driving for years and does so to make a living.”

Christopher Livingstone, of Coolmillish Road, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol in breath at Armagh Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Prosecution outlined that on February 28, at 2.50am, police observed a defendant driving a car on the Coolmillish Road, Markethill, with a defective headlight.

Officers followed the vehicle to Livingstone’s address, and upon speaking to him it was noted that he appeared to be under the influence.

A preliminary breath test was carried out resulting in a fail. He was arrested and conveyed to Banbridge Custody Suite.

Whilst there, an evidential sample of breath was obtained that gave a reading of 79mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

Defence barrister Ryan Cushley stated: “This is a man who has had a licence for 23 years. He has no previous and his profession is as an HGV driver.

“He is hard of hearing. This would make it difficult for him to find alternative work. His current employer texts him to give him instructions.”

He continued: “This was an error of judgement. Mr Livingstone was dealing with some criminal activity around his house.

“He had got in his car to chase another vehicle which had set off an alarm. He had not travelled very far and was detected on his way home.”

District Judge Peter Magill stated: “It is a shame to see a man like yourself before the court, a man with no record who has been driving for years and does so to make a living.”

Livingstone was disqualified from driving for 12 months and was ordered to pay a fine of £250, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 20 weeks.

The defendant was certified for the drink driving course which would see his ban reduced to one of nine months upon completion.

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