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Omeath drink driver who failed to stop for police has ‘modest Northern record’

Pleading guilty to seven offences, defence said: 'He has no excuse for his actions and apologises unreservedly'

A man who was found to be over twice the legal drink drive limit after failing to stop for police on two occasions has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Court heard that police attention was drawn to the 40-year-old after the Garda Síochána reported that the car he was driving was involved in an incident in the Republic.

Conor Martin McLaughlin, of Cornamucklach in Omeath, Co Louth, had pleas of guilty entered on his behalf to seven charges at Newry Magistrates’ court on Wednesday.

The defendant was charged with driving with excess alcohol, dangerous driving, two counts of failing to stop for police, using a vehicle without insurance, being an unaccompanied L driver and not displaying L plates.

Prosecution outlined that on May 22, at 9.50am, police received a report from the Garda Síochána that a Volkswagen, which was involved in an incident in the Republic, was being driven by the defendant across the border into Newry.

McLaughlin failed to stop and made off at speed from a vehicle checkpoint.

He was later located on the Ferryhill Road, and police indicated for the defendant to stop but once more he refused.

McLaughlin then reversed colliding with a wall and two police vehicles.

A preliminary breath test at the roadside resulted in a fail with an evidential sample obtained in custody giving a reading of 75mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

Defence barrister Seamus Lannon stated: “In essence his Northern record ends in 2011 and these were for modest matters, although I must say that I have not had sight of his Republic record.

“He has been in custody since May 22, which is almost three months, and he is not going to be released until another more serious matter is dealt with.”

He added: “I ask that he is given some credit for the absence of a record in this jurisdiction and that the matter is dealt with in a way that it does not absorb all of his remand time.

“I ask that he is given credit for his plea, his admissions at the earliest opportunity. He has no excuse for his actions and apologises unreservedly.”

Prosecution outlined that the Republic of Ireland record contained nine previous convictions, the most recent being for theft in December 2018 and driving without a licence in 2016.

District Judge Eamon King sentenced McLaughlin to four months in prison suspended for two years and disqualified him from driving for 18 months.

The defendant was also ordered to pay a fine of £550, along with the offender’s levy of £15.

District Judge King did certify McLaughlin for the drink driving course which would see his ban reduced by one quarter upon completion.

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