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Drink driver whose car was found in hedge given 12 month ban

Defence said: 'He took some alcohol that day. He did not think that he was over the limit but clearly he was'

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A Newry man who drove whilst over the limit and was found by police behind the wheel of a vehicle which was partially in a hedge has been handed a 12 month ban.

The 32-year-old’s solicitor told court: “He took some alcohol that day. He did not think that he was over the limit but clearly he was.”

Christopher Hanratty, of Carnagat Park, had a plea of guilty entered to driving with excess alcohol at the city’s Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Prosecution outlined that on October 25, at 6.15pm, police received a report of a one vehicle collision on the Armagh Road, Newtownhamilton.

Officers arrived to find a Volkswagen vehicle with extensive damage partially in a hedge.

They spoke to this defendant, who was located in the driver seat. After noting a smell of intoxicating liquor and that his speech was slurred a preliminary breath test was carried out resulting in a fail.

Hanratty was conveyed to Banbridge Custody Suite, where an evidential sample of blood was taken giving a reading of 119mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood – the limit being 80mg.

Defence solicitor Gerard Trainor stated: “He has been driving for 10 years. His licence has been handed into court and it has no live points.

“He took some alcohol that day. He did not think that he was over the limit but clearly he was.”

Deputy District Judge Peter Prenter commented: “He will be given full credit for his driving record to date and I will treat it as one-off.”

Hanratty was disqualified from driving for 12 months and was ordered to pay a fine of £250, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 16 weeks.

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

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