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Newtown man caught over limit hit with fine and 12 month driving ban

Court heard defendant had lost his gym due to Covid and that day had been unsuccessful in a separate court matter

A Newtownhamilton man who was caught driving whilst over the limit has been handed a 12 month disqualification.

The 34-year-old’s legal representative told court that his client had lost his gym business due to Covid and that on the day of detection had lost a court case on a separate issue.

Darren James Burns, of Dungormley Estate, had a plea of guilty entered on his behalf to driving with excess alcohol at Newry Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Prosecution outlined that on February 6, police had reason to stop this defendant driving a Volkswagen Golf on the vicinity of Dorans Hill, Newry.

Upon speaking to Burns, officers noted that his speech was slurred, he smelled of intoxicating liquor and his eyes were glazed.

A preliminary breath test was conducted at the roadside resulting in a fail, with a subsequent evidential sample obtained in custody giving a reading of 44mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

Defence counsel commented that it was a “fairly low reading”.

Outlining the background to the detection, he stated: “He is a separated man. He owned a gym but over Covid he lost that business.

“On the day in question, he had a court case…which he lost. He had a drink but had believed that he was OK to drive.”

Deputy District Judge Anne Marshall disqualified the defendant from driving for 12 months and ordered that he pay a fine of £250, along with an offender’s levy of £15, within 20 weeks.

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

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