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Man with alcohol problem caught drink driving when giving friend a lift to Portadown

'This was a next day detection, he had a number of drinks, food and a sleep which led him to believe it was out of his system'

Portadown police

A motorist man has been handed a 24 month ban for drink driving after an 18 year gap in offending.

The 45-year-old’s barrister told court: “This is a man who by his own admission has a problem with alcohol.”

John Spratt, of Edinburgh Drive, Cookstown, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

Prosecution outlined that on October 4, at around 8.40pm, police on patrol stopped an MG car on Bridge Street, Portadown.

Officers spoke to the driver, who identified himself as the defendant. They noted that he smelled strongly of alcohol and appeared drunk.

A preliminary breath test resulted in a fail and a subsequent evidential sample collected in custody gave a reading of 96mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

Defence barrister David McKeown stated: “This was a plea at the first opportunity. This is a man who by his own admission has a problem with alcohol.

“Quite unusual to the time. This was a next day detection, he had a number of drinks, food and a sleep which led him to believe it was out of his system.”

He continued: “Believing this to be the case, he decided to drive a friend to Portadown. He got lost in the area and was driving around aimlessly.

“Due to his difficulties, he did not think he was as bad as he actually was. He does have some previous but that is of considerable vintage and is outside the statuary period.”

Mr McKeown added: “I ask your worship to deal with him in a similar way as he had managed to stay out of trouble in the intervening 18 years.”

Deputy District Judge John Rea said: “Mr Spratt, I will give you credit for your early guilty plea and the fact you have stayed out of trouble for a considerable period of time.

“Nevertheless, this is a very high reading.”

Spratt was disqualified from driving for 24 months and ordered to pay a fine of £150, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 16 weeks.

The defendant was certified for the drink driving course which would see his ban reduced to one of 18 months if completed.

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