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Drink driver with can of Harp lager in car cupholder told police ‘no sweat’ when cautioned

Defendant became agitated and aggressive towards police saying: 'Don't sit there and look at me'

Drink driving Craigavon Court

A man who was caught by police with a can of Harp lager in the cupholder of his car has been disqualified from driving for 12 months.

Court heard that the 34-year-old told police, “alright, no sweat” when he was cautioned for the offence.

Richard Chestnut, of Johns Terrace, Moira pleaded guilty to using a vehicle without insurance, resisting police and driving with excess alcohol at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Court heard that on September 2, police on patrol of the Portadown area spotted the defendant driving a Volkswagen Golf in the Meadow Lane car park.

Checks showed that the vehicle did not have an active insurance in force.

Police spoke to Chestnut who gave them a false name and address.

Officers noted that the defendant’s eyes were glazed, his speech was slurred and they could smell alcohol on his breath.

They also noticed cans of Harp lager in the car including in the front cup holder.

Chestnut was asked to engage in a preliminary breath test but he refused to comply.

He was subsequently arrested and when cautioned told police: “Alright, no sweat.”

The defendant became agitated and aggressive towards the police saying: “Don’t sit there and look at me.”

He then raised his arms towards officers at which point he was restrained.

Chestnut continued to be aggressive, swearing at officers as he was conveyed to Banbridge custody suite.

An evidential breath sample taken in custody revealed that he had 53mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

The defendant was later interviewed on February 4, and during this he denied driving the vehicle when he was stopped by police.

Court heard that Chestnut claimed he did not own the vehicle but that it belonged to a friend.

District Judge Bernie Kelly stated: “I will need the name of that friend, to give them a chance to come to court and explain why I shouldn’t forfeit the vehicle.”

Defence counsel said: “Mr Chestnut has entered a plea at the earliest opportunity, he apologises for his actions and appreciates that conduct of this nature is unacceptable.”

He added: “He has a long and significant record which gives him very little room for manoeuvre.”

Court heard the defendant’s last relevant entry related to an offence in December 2014.

District Judge Kelly stated: “I will give him maximum credit for his early plea; he has no other drink driving convictions within the statuary 10 years and his last offence was over four years ago.”

Chestnut was disqualified from driving for 12 months and ordered to pay a fine of £950, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 16 weeks.


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