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Man found in broken down car was almost three times legal drink drive limit

Defendant travelling between Omagh and Belfast when he broke down on M1

A man whose car broke down as he tried to drive from Omagh to Belfast was found to be nearly three times the legal drink-drive limit, a court has heard.

Kevin Sean Cowan, of Elmwood Avenue in Belfast, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol in his breath at Craigavon Magistrates’ on Friday.

The incident occurred on July 7 at around 12,30pm, when police on patrol on the M1, Lurgan, noticed the defendant broken down in his car by the side of the road.

He told officers that he had driven from Omagh before the clutch on his vehicle had gone.

Police noted a strong smell of alcohol and took a preliminary breath test, which Cowan failed.

In custody, a second test was carried out which gave a reading of 102mgs of alcohol in 100mls of breath.

Court heard that the defendant works as a joiner, regularly having to travel as far as Omagh for work.

Defence counsel stated that upon this conviction his employer had all but terminated his contract.

He explained the day prior to the incident Cowan had been attending a work function in Omagh, for which he had been checked into a hotel, including breakfast, by his employer.

But defence counsel said the following day he had been in a rush to return to Belfast and had not eaten any food before he set off.

It was revealed that Cowan had been driving since he was 17 and, other than three penalty points for using a mobile phone whilst driving in 2016, had a clear record.

District Judge Bernie Kelly commented: “This is a very high reading and that is a very long journey to be driving at that time of the day.”

Cowan was handed a 12-month driving ban but was not certified for the drink driving course by District Judge Kelly due to the high reading.

The defendant was also fined £300, along with the offender’s levy of £15, which the court ordered be paid within eight weeks.

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