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Drink driver tried to evade police by hiding under a van in a high-visibility vest

Defendant took 'very foolish action' when he panicked at sight of police checkpoint

Armagh Courthouse

A Glenanne man who tried to evade police detection for drink driving by hiding under a van in a high-visibility vest has been banned from the roads for 12 months.

Stewart William Cully, of Tullyallen Road, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol, obstructing police and having no vehicle test certificate.

Armagh Magistrates’ Court heard on Tuesday that the incident occurred on February 2 at around 2am, when police were carrying out a vehicle checkpoint in the Markethill area.

Officers observed a Vauxhall Astra turn at speed and drive up the Mowhan Road.

As they approached police saw a man in an orange high-vis jacket walk away from the vehicle.

During an inspection of the car, officers noted that there were three Carlsberg cans in the passenger footwell.

Officers later found the defendant hiding underneath a van along the same road.

After being asked four to five times to get out Cully eventually did.

The 35-year-old failed a preliminary breath test, which gave a reading of 48mgs in 100mls of breath.

He was subsequently arrested, and further checks showed the vehicle did not have an MOT certificate, it having expired in November 2017.

After giving readings of both 49mgs and 50mgs of alcohol in 100mls of breath whilst at Lurgan Custody Suite, the defendant opted to give a blood sample.

Cully returned on June 7 for blood analysis which showed he had 96mgs of alcohol in 100mls of blood- 16mgs over the limit.

Defence solicitor Jarlath Fields said this was a “very foolish action” as the defendant was panicked at the sight of the police checkpoint and tried to make off.

He said on the night in question Cully had given a colleague a lift home from work and had been invited in for a drink before “foolishly deciding to drive home”.

It was pointed out the defendant had “a relatively clear record” and had been driving for over 14 years.

Cully was banned from driving for 12 months, but was certified for the drink driving course which, if completed, would reduce this to nine months.

He was also ordered to pay a fine of £375, along with the offender’s levy of £15.

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