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Man spat in officer’s face after being arrested for drink driving in Markethill

Whilst in the police car en route to custody he also kicked out and caused damage to an air vent in the central console

Drink-driving Armagh courthouse

A man who spat in the face of an officer at Lurgan Custody Suite, after being arrested for drink driving in Markethill, has been handed a 12 disqualification and a £600 fine.

The 20-year-old’s barrister told court: “He had been consuming alcohol when he got news that his father was unwell. He made the foolish decision to drive and he was frustrated at not being able to get to the family home.”

John Maguire, of Salters Bridge in Magherafelt, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol, criminal damage and assault on police at Armagh Magistrates’, sitting at Newry, on Friday.

Prosecution outlined that on April 9, police stopped the defendant driving on Mullaghbrack Road in Markethill.

Upon observing beer cans in the vehicle and noting a strong smell of alcohol emanating from Maguire, officers conducted a preliminary breath test which resulted in a fail.

The defendant was arrested. Whilst in the police car en route to custody he kicked out causing damage to an air vent in the central console.

Whilst at Lurgan Custody Suite, an evidential sample of breath was obtained. While this was being tested Maguire spat in the face of one officer.

The evidential sample later gave a reading of 82mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath – over twice the legal limit.

Defence barrister Conor Coulter stated: “This is a guilty plea, although not at the earliest opportunity, no witnesses were called to give evidence. I would ask that he is given as much credit as possible.

“He had been consuming alcohol when he got news that his father was unwell. He made the foolish decision to drive and he was frustrated at not being able to get to the family home.”

He continued: “His behaviour was abhorrent, he accepts that. He appears with no report, your worship may be concerned regarding the aggravating feature of the assault on police.

“But he has very little record, I believe one for theft and the other being a motoring matter.”

District Judge Eamonn King disqualified the defendant from driving for 12 months and ordered that he pay a fine of £600, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 16 weeks.

Maguire was certified for the drink driving course which would see his ban reduced to one of nine months upon completion.

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