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‘Heroin addict’ in court for catalogue of Portadown motoring offences

Court heard the defendant had recently been sentenced to eight months in prison for a high-value theft of approximately £10,000 of coats from Victoria Square in Belfast

Craigavon Courthouse

A Dublin man sentenced to eight months for stealing £10,000 worth of coats in Belfast has appeared in court again for motoring offences in Portadown.

Gerard Beirne, (35), with an address noted as Rathowen House, appeared before Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday via videolink from Maghaberry.

He was charged with two counts of driving when unfit through drink/drugs, driving without due care and attention and driving without insurance.

Beirne, whom the court was told had no previous record for motoring offences, faced the charges in relation to three separate incidents.

The prosecution outlined that the first occurred on March 2, 2021. Police were on mobile patrol on Bridge Street in Portadown, when they observed a Renault vehicle exiting the filling station. Police followed the vehicle for a short distance, observing it breach the central white line.

They signalled for the vehicle to stop and the driver “aggressively mounted the kerb” with the rear near-side remaining on the road. Police identified the defendant, who was observed to have syringes in his jacket pocket. He also had slurred speech, glazed eyes and appeared to be under the influence. He was then arrested.

The second incident occurred on March 14 of the same year, when police were flagged down by a member of the public on Bridge Street, who stated that they observed three males stagger out of a garage, before getting into a Renault vehicle.

Police caught up with the vehicle on Market Street and spoke with the driver, the defendant, who was unsteady on his feet and had a pale complexion and slurred speech.

The court heard that he seemed agitated and was unable to remain still. He stated to police that he was proscribed methadone as a heroin replacement, and was suffering from withdrawal and unable to collect his prescription.

An impairment test was conducted and he was deemed impaired to drive. He was then arrested.

The next incident occurred on March 23, when police attended the scene of a road-traffic collision involving a BMW and an Audi. Police noted that the BMW was stationary on the Tandragee Road, with the vehicle half on the road and half on the kerb.

It appeared that the Audi had driven into the rear off-side of the BMW, causing “severe damage”.

Police attended and the defendant was cautioned for driving without due care and attention.

A defence solicitor told the court that Beirne, who is a heroin addict, had recently been sentenced to eight months in prison for a high-value theft of approximately £10,000 of coats from Victoria Square in Belfast.

He added that upon the defendant’s release for that offence, the Dublin man is due to go back down south for a matter in Dún Laoghaire Court.

District Judge Bernie Kelly imposed a total fine of £900, along with a 15 month driving ban.

She ordered a forthwith warrant of 14 days for the first two incidents, and seven days on the third.

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