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Drink driver who failed to stop at police checkpoint handed 12 month ban

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A Portadown man who was found to be over the legal drink drive limit after failing to stop at a police vehicle checkpoint has been handed a 12 month ban.

The 33-year-old’s solicitor: “The only thing I can say is that is was during lockdown, it was in the early hours of the morning and he was very swiftly stopped a short distance away”.

Phelim Martin Mercer, of Garvaghy Park, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol and failing to stop for police at Craigavon Magistrates’, sitting at Lisburn, on Friday.

Prosecution outlined that on April 27, police were conducting a vehicle checkpoint on the Portadown Road, Lurgan.

They had signalled for a Vauxhall Astra car to stop but it failed to do so, other officers were alerted and were able to stop the vehicle a short distance away on Dill Avenue.

Upon speaking to the driver, who was identified as the defendant, police believed that he was under the influence.

A preliminary breath test at the roadside resulted in a fail with an evidential sample obtain in custody giving a reading of 51mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

Defence solicitor Philip Reid stated: “He does have a very limited record, although there is one previous for 2008 for failing to stop for police but that was some time ago.

“The only thing I can say is that is was during lockdown, it was in the early hours of the morning and he was very swiftly stopped a short distance away”.

Mercer was disqualified from driving for 12 months and was ordered to pay a fine of £400, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 12 weeks.

District Judge Steven Keown did certify the defendant for the drink driving course which would see his ban reduced to one of nine months upon completion.

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