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Man over four times the limit after drinking in car with friends spared licence

Defence said as his wife and children went to bed they moved outside to the rear of his property where the car was parked and he had the key in a coat pocket


A Lithuanian national who was found to be over four times the legal drink drive limit after consuming alcohol with friends in his car has been spared his licence.

The 39-year-old’s solicitor told court her client had moved outside to drink after his wife and children had gone to bed and now knew the illegality of his actions.

Vitalijus Kanonovas, of Cowan Street in Newry, pleaded guilty to being in charge with excess alcohol at the city’s Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Prosecution outlined that on June 2, at 8.15pm, police received a report of three males drinking in a vehicle in the vicinity of John Mitchel Street in Newry.

Officers arrived and spoke to this defendant, who was identified as the owner of the vehicle.

A preliminary breath test was conducted, as Kanonovas smelled of intoxicating liquor and had slurred speech, which resulted in a fail.

Further evidential samples gave a reading of 146mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

Defence solicitor Aoibhin Gillen stated: “This is a 39-year-old Lithuanian national who has lived in Northern Ireland for approximately six years.”

She explained that the defendant had been drinking with two friends at his home, but as his wife and children went to bed they moved outside to the rear of his property, where the car was parked.

Ms Gillen stated: “He was standing outside the vehicle when police arrived….the key was in a coat pocket but he accepted that he had been drinking inside the vehicle.

“He was just over four times the legal drink drive limit and now knows that drinking in his vehicle is illegal.”

Kanonovas was handed 10 penalty points and was ordered to pay a fine of £200, along with the offender’s levy of £15.

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