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Man caught in charge of vehicle whilst over twice the limit spared driving licence

Defendant was found asleep in the driver seat of the vehicle and as he exited it was observed he was unsteady and almost fell over

Drink-driving Armagh courthouse

A Dungannon man who was found in charge of a vehicle whilst over twice the legal drink drive limit has been spared his licence.

The 45-year-old’s solicitor told court: “He was drinking in the vehicle and luckily police got to him before he took the decision to move away from the area.”

Mark Donnelly, of Derryscollop Road, had a plea of guilty entered on his behalf to being in charge with excess alcohol at Armagh Magistrates’, sitting at Newry.

Prosecution outlined that on December 20, police located a Mercedes on the Blackisland Road, Loughgall, stationary with its lights on and engine running.

This defendant was found asleep in the driver seat of the vehicle and as he exited it was observed he was unsteady and almost fell over.

Officers also noted that Donnelly’s speech was slurred and that he smelled of intoxicating liquor.

He was subsequently arrested and whilst at Dungannon Custody Suite an evidential sample of breath was obtained which gave a reading of 83mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath – over twice the legal drink drive limit.

Defence solicitor Jarlath Fields asked that Deputy District Judge Philip Mateer deal with his client in “as lenient a way as possible”.

He outlined that Donnelly required his licence in order to continue in his employment and that he acted as the “main carer” for his mother, who required him to take her to hospital appointments.

Mr Fields stated: “He does not have a great deal of recollection. He instructs that things had got on top of him as it was coming up to Christmas.

“He was drinking in the vehicle and luckily police got to him before he took the decision to move away from the area.”

Deputy District Judge Mateer commented: “He was as close to driving as anyone in an in charge case can be.”

He added that due to the possibility of loss of employment and the defendant’s requirement to help his mother he would not be disqualifying him from driving.

Donnelly was handed 10 penalty points and was ordered to pay a fine of £400, along with the offender’s levy of £15.

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