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Man who took car without permission and ended in hedge spared jail on third drink driving offence

The district judge told him: 'A plea of guilty, even at this late stage, will always give you credit in this court'

A man has been spared prison on his third conviction of drink driving due to his plea of guilty.

The district judge told the 28-year-old: “A plea of guilty, even at this late stage, will always give you credit in this court.”

Tomas Mendelis, of Upper Irish Street, Armagh pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol, driving whilst disqualified, no insurance and taking a vehicle without authority at the city’s Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Court heard that on August 23, at 8.45pm, police received a report that a Peugeot 206 had left the Darkley Road, Keady, and ended in a hedge.

Officers arrived to find the defendant standing on the roadside looking down at the car.

A preliminary breath test conducted on Mendelis resulted in a fail.

He was subsequently arrested and cautioned.

When interviewed about the offences, the defendant made no comment.

He was again interviewed on September 16, after the owner of the car stated that he had not given anyone permission to drive the vehicle. Once more Mendelis made no comment.

Court heard that the reading taken from the defendant was 106mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

Defence barrister Seamus Lannon stated: “Mr Mendelis instructs that he has issues with alcohol and he says he has not taken any since the incident.

“This is his third conviction and he understands he will have a lengthy disqualification.”

He said: “This vehicle belonged to his parent, this had originally been a contest but Mr Mendelis took my advice and has entered a plea.”

It was heard that the defendant works sporadically as a joiner but had organised for a friend to give him lifts to jobs during his disqualification.

District Judge Peter Magill stated: “A plea of guilty, even at this late stage, will always give you credit in this court.

“You will not be going to prison because of your plea, instead I will impose a suspended sentence.”

Mendelis was sentenced to three months in prison suspended for two years.

In addition, the defendant was disqualified from driving for five years and ordered to pay a fine of £200, along with the offender’s levy of £15.

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