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Teenage drink driver called police pretending to be third party following crash

The caller allegedly 'sounded intoxicated' and initially 'tried to pass himself off as an uninvolved third party'

Court drink driving Craigavon

A Maghery teenager who crashed his car whilst over the limit called police pretending to be a third party, before admitting to the incident, a court has heard.

Matthew Patrick Hennan, of Maghery Road, appeared before Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

The 19-year-old appeared before the court charged with driving with excess alcohol in breath, failing to remain at an accident and failing to stop at an accident.

The court heard that on December 3, 2022, a blue Peugeot car was involved in a damage-only collision on the Maghery Road.

A young male was observed leaving the vehicle and walking in the direction of the Derrylee Road. 

A short time later, police received a phone call from a mobile number linked to the defendant. The caller reported the road traffic accident, citing the location and details of the vehicle involved. 

The caller allegedly “sounded intoxicated” and initially “tried to pass himself off as an uninvolved third party”.

He eventually disclosed that he had been drinking and had driven the vehicle involved.

The caller revealed his location and, a short time later, the defendant was located by police. A preliminary breath test was conducted which resulted in a fail.

He was then conveyed to Dungannon custody, where an evidential sample of 47 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath was taken – the legal limit in Northern Ireland is 35 microgrammes.

The defendant’s defence solicitor asked the court for credit, as he had a clean record and had entered a guilty plea at the earliest opportunity.

He explained that his client had been out for a night out and had got a lift home. When he was home he took a decision to get into a vehicle, with “no logical explanation whatsoever”.

He added that the defendant is someone of “good character” and is currently in employment.

District Judge Bernie Kelly imposed a fine of £250 for the driving with excess alcohol charge and disqualified him from driving for 12 months, stating that he would remain disqualified thereafter until he sits and passes the appropriate driving test.

For failing to remain and failing to stop he was fined £100 and disqualified for 12 months on each charge.

District Judge Kelly made a collection order for £450 to be paid within eight weeks.

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