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Drink driver caught in Newry jailed and banned from roads for four years

"He wants to get back on track and build a life that doesn't involve this revolving door of prison on periods of instability."

A man who was caught drink driving for a second time in six years has been jailed and banned from the road for four years.

John Patrick Smyth, with an address of Shaws Road in Belfast, was also given a four month sentence for assault on three separate police officers during the course of the latest incident which happened in Newry on July 8 this year.

The 36-year-old appeared before Newry Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, via videolink from Maghaberry, having pleaded guilty to the charges at an earlier hearing.

The court heard that police were alerted to a black Skoda Octavia being driven erratically on the Banbridge Road in Loughbrickland.

The vehicle was then spotted a short time later at the Belfast Road forecourt in Newry.

Officers approached Smyth – who emanated a strong smell of alcohol – and asked him to provide a breath sample, to which he initially agreed.

However, as officers awaited the arrival of the test, Smyth started shouting and swearing at them and members of the public. At this point he was restrained but he then began assaulting the officers.

He kicked one in the shin, attempted to kick another – but bit two of his fingers – and attempted to bite another officer. He then refused to comply with a breath test at the scene and later in custody stating his refusal was down to the fact he wanted to make a complaint against police.

His defence counsel, acknowledging his client’s previous conviction of excess alcohol in 2017, said the facts of this case were “deeply unimpressive”.

He added: “Mr Smyth is somebody who has had something of a nomadic lifestyle of the last few years…..he has spent time sleeping rough at  Castlewellan Forest Park”, while referring to his issues with mental health and alcohol addiction.

“He’s at a point in his life where he wants his cycle to stop. He wants to get back on track and build a life that doesn’t involve this revolving door of prison on periods of instability.”

District Judge Peter Prenter handed Smyth a five month prison term for the driving with excess alcohol; four months for assault on police and disqualified him from driving for a period of four years.

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