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£800 fine and ban for hit and run driver who had both alcohol and cocaine in his system

He admitted to having consumed cocaine earlier that day and a small bag of white powder was located in the pocket of his jeans

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A south Armagh man who drove off whilst over the limit after reversing into another vehicle has been disqualified for 12 months.

The 26-year-old’s barrister explained his client had been out drinking with friends before making the “very foolish and potentially dangerous” decision to drive home.

Keelan Sean O’Connor, of Lisgarvagh, Lislea had pleas of guilty entered on his behalf to failing to stop, failing to remain, failing to report, using a vehicle without insurance, possession of Class A and driving whilst unfit at Newry Magistrates’ on Wednesday.

Prosecution outlined that on August 30, at 7.30pm, police received a report of a hit and run collision in Lislea with a description of the offending vehicle.

Officers later observed this car, with corresponding damage, parked adjacent to the address of the last registered owner, the defendant.

Police spoke to O’Connor’s mother who confirmed that her son was the owner of the Lexus car.

The defendant was spoken to and it was noted by officers that he smelled of intoxicating liquor and his speech was slurred.

A preliminary breath test was conducted and O’Connor was subsequently arrested. During a search, a small bag of white powder was located in the pocket of his jeans.

Whilst at Banbridge Custody Suite, the defendant admitted to having consumed cocaine earlier that day and a sample of his blood was taken for forensic analysis.

This gave a reading of 227mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood and confirmed the presence of cocaine.

Defence barrister Bobbie Rea stated: “He has no record, no live points. This is a young man who is otherwise very industrious.”

He explained that O’Connor had been home visiting from London. The vehicle belonged to him but because he did not reside in this jurisdiction the insurance had lapsed.

Mr Rea said the defendant had gone out drinking with friends before making the “very foolish and potentially dangerous” decision to drive home.

The barrister added: “He reversed into the back of this vehicle meaning that the contact and the damage was minimal.”

O’Connor was disqualified from driving for 12 months and was ordered to pay a fine of £800, along with the offender’s levy of £15.

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