A Newry woman has been handed a three year driving ban for her third drink driving conviction, although only her second this century.
The 62-year-old’s solicitor told court: “Lockdown was very difficult for this lady. She had no support and she had been a regular attender with AA counselling.”
Breige Esther Rafferty, of Main Avenue, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol at the city’s Magistrates’.
Prosecution outlined that on August 31, at 10.10pm, police received a report from a member of the public regarding a suspected drink driver.
They claimed to have observed a female at the Fiveways service station in Newry carrying a bottle of gin as she got into a BMW 1 Series.
The driver was then seen to mount a kerb before exiting the service station.
Police checks revealed that the vehicle was registered to the defendant, and they attended her address and spoke to her.
Rafferty accepted having just arrived home. It was noted that she smelled of intoxicating liquor and that her speech was slurred.
The defendant was arrested and whilst in custody an evidential sample of her breath was obtained giving a reading of 71mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath – over twice the legal limit.
During interview, the defendant made full admissions to the offence of driving with excess alcohol.
Prosecution informed the court that Rafferty had two previous relevant entries on her record from 1999 and 2012.
Defence solicitor Bernadette Rafferty stated: “This is a very disturbing set of events. You can see from her record that all the entries are drink related.
“To her credit after the offence in 1999 she was off the drink but there was a trigger in 2011 which caused her to lapse.”
She continued: “Lockdown was very difficult for this lady. She had no support and she had been a regular attender with AA counselling.
“To her credit this was a plea at the first opportunity. She also spent a night in Lurgan Custody which was very traumatic for her.”
District Judge Eamonn King disqualified Rafferty for the minimum of three years and ordered that she pay a fine of £300, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within six weeks.