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Bessbrook woman caught in charge whilst over twice the limit handed conditional discharge

During a search of the defendant a quantity of suspected cannabis was located in a tobacco pouch

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A Bessbrook woman who was caught in charge of a vehicle whilst over twice the legal drink drive limit, despite never sitting a test, has been handed a conditional discharge and a one month disqualification.

The 37-year-old’s solicitor told court: “She does not have a licence, she has never done a test and is unlikely to be driving anytime in the future.”

Emma Kearney, of Dobsons Way, had pleas of guilty entered to possession of Class B and being in charge of a vehicle with excess alcohol in blood at Newry Magistrates’ Court.

Prosecution outlined that on July 21 at 5.30pm, police received a report of a female who appeared intoxicated in the driver’s seat of a car on River Street in Newry.

Officers arrived to find this defendant in the driver’s seat of a car in the area and vomit was observed on the ground.

Kearney initially refused to co-operate with police. Officers noted that her speech was slurred and she smelled of intoxicating liquor.

The defendant later told police that the vehicle in question did not belong to her and that she had not intention of driving.

A preliminary breath test was conducted resulting in a fail and Kearney was subsequently arrested.

Whilst in custody, an evidential sample of blood was obtained which gave a reading of 181mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood – over twice the legal drink drive limit.

During a search of the defendant, a quantity of suspected cannabis was located in a tobacco pouch.

When interviewed, Kearney made full admissions to the offences but denied making any attempt to drive the vehicle.

Defence solicitor Gerard Trainor stated: “I urge your worship to give her maximum credit. This is one of those drunk in charge cases in which there is no evidence that she intended to drive.

“There is nothing sinister about this. She is a vulnerable person who has lacked accommodation at times.”

He added: “She does not have a licence, she has never done a test and is unlikely to be driving anytime in the future.”

Mr Trainor also informed the court that the defendant instructed that she had been given the cannabis by someone and that she was not known to be a user of the substance.

Deputy District Judge Anne Marshall commented: “She comes before the court as someone of previous good character.”

Kearney was sentenced to a conditional discharge for 12 months and was handed a one month driving disqualification.

The defendant was also ordered to pay a fine of £100, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 10 weeks.

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