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Loughgall man house-sitting for wife opted to drink drive back home as heating wasn’t working

'Your licence is more valuable to you than most people, so driving instead of getting other means of transport was a foolish decision'

A Loughgall man, who was house-sitting his wife’s home while she was away in England, decided to drink drive after getting too cold to stay in the house, a court has heard.

Matthew Boutros, of Old Road, appearing before Craigavon Magistrates’ Court, via videolink from his solicitor’s office, pleaded guilty to drink driving on December 18, last year.

A prosecution solicitor told the court that, at approximately 10.10pm, Boutros was stopped by police who were carrying out a pre-Christmas anti-drink driving checkpoint on Loughgall’s Main Street.

The 35-year-old, who was driving a Vauxhall Astra, produced an initial reading of 83mgs. He was then taken to Lurgan Custody Suite where he produced a lower reading of 63mgs.

Defence solicitor Paul Brown explained that his client, who has no previous convictions, works at a high level as a customs clearance manager at a local haulage firm, so much so he has advised local government on customs matters.

Mr Brown stated the defendant was stopped during a routine checkpoint and that there was “nothing adverse about his driving” which brought him to attention of police.

“He was housesitting his wife’s house on the night in question,” Mr Brown explained. “His wife was on holiday in England, however, the heat in the house had stopped working and this was in December and was quite cold.

“As a result, he decided to travel approximately one mile from his spouse’s house to his own. He instructs that he did give it consideration and made a judgement that he was under the limit but he obviously got that wrong.

“His employment requires him to drive regularly to customers’ premises. He does not say he will lose his job as a result of disqualification but he does say that the disqualification will represent something of a punishment to his professional life and also in relation to his personal life.”

Deputy District Judge Greg McCourt commented: “Your licence is more valuable to you than most people, so driving instead of getting other means of transport was a foolish decision.”

Boutros was fined £250, disqualified from driving for 12 months and until tested again. He was given 10 weeks to pay the fine.

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