A Kilmore man who was found to be over three times the legal limit after fleeing the scene of a collision is to appeal a prison sentence of three months.
The district judge also handed the 37-year-old a three year road ban as this offence occurred just over six months after a previous drink driving disqualification.
Patrick Halligan, of Tullymore Road, appeared for sentencing on charges of driving with excess alcohol, driving whilst disqualified, using a vehicle without insurance, failing to stop and failing remain at an accident at Armagh Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry, on Tuesday via videolink from his solicitor’s office.
Prosecution outlined that on September 7, at around 6pm, police received a report of a hit and run incident on the Derryloughan Road in Kilmore.
The injured party’s Seat Leon had been struck by a Citroën Dispatch van which had failed to stop following the collision.
Checks of the van’s licence plate revealed that this defendant was the last registered owner of the vehicle.
Police attended his address, and in the driveway of the property was the van which showed damage consistent with the collision and the engine was notably warm to the touch.
Halligan, who was wearing blue jeans and no top, initially refused to leave the property, telling police to “f*** off” through an open window.
When the defendant did come out, he was confrontational towards officers continually telling them to “f*** off”.
A preliminary breath test was conducted resulting in a fail, and Halligan was arrested and replied to caution: “F*** off”.
Checks subsequently revealed that the defendant was a disqualified driver and thus was not insured, once more he replied “f*** off” when cautioned.
Halligan was placed in the rear of a police vehicle, where he kicked and punched the window whilst being conveyed to Lurgan Police Station.
Whilst in custody, an evidential sample of breath was obtained which gave a reading of 126mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath – over three times the legal limit.
The keys to the van were located in Halligan’s back pocket.
Defence solicitor John McAtamney stated that his client had “not covered himself in any glory” during the incident.
The solicitor told court that Halligan had a “limited enough record” with a significant gap in offending from 2000 until his disqualification for drink driving in 2020.
Mr McAtamney stated that celebrations of a wedding which Halligan had attended had “carried on” into the weekend and he had taken a chance driving his van home as he needed it for work the following day.
District Judge Bernie Kelly said: “The situation is he was over three times the legal limit, he was in a head on collision, he left the scene and didn’t check on the other driver.
“This was just over six months after a previous disqualification from driving for the same thing.”
Halligan was sentenced to three months in prison and was disqualified from driving for a period of three years.
Mr McAtamney informed the court of his client’s wish to appeal the sentence and Halligan was granted his own bail of £500 in order to do this.
Conditions of bail included that he is not to enter any licensed premises, not to consume or have intoxicating liquor on his person, observe a 10pm to 6am curfew and he is not to travel in the front of any private motor vehicle.