A Portadown man who was caught riding a moped whilst under the influence of alcohol and Ecstasy has been handed a suspended sentence.
The deputy district judge told the 32-year-old: “If you don’t hold up your end, you will be put in prison.”
John James Smith, 32, of Thomas Street, pleaded guilty to possession of a Class A drug, driving whilst disqualified, using a vehicle without insurance, driving whilst unfit and having no lights illuminated on a vehicle at Newry Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
Court heard that on June 3, at around 11.45pm, police spotted the defendant riding a blue moped on Edward Street in Newry with no headlights on.
Officers followed the moped and, after seeing it make erratic manoeuvres on the Armagh Road, they signalled for Smith to stop.
However, he initially ignored this carrying on to the Tandragee Road before coming to a stop.
Checks showed that the moped was not insured and that the defendant was a disqualified driver.
Upon his arrest, Smith told the police that he had consumed alcohol and Ecstasy.
A preliminary test was carried out which resulted in a fail.
At the police station, the defendant once again informed officers that he had consumed Ecstasy.
He was subsequently taken to Daisy Hill Hospital where blood tests were carried out.
Prosecution stated that a number of Ecstasy tablets were found on Smith’s person when he was arrested.
Defence counsel stated: “Mr Smith has a problem and the number of thefts on his prior record were committed to feed this.
“He was very candid with police, the reason he did not stop in the first place was that he had the Ecstasy tablets on him.”
He added: “Mr Smith seems to have got his life back on track, he is no longer self-medicating, has a good support system around him and there has been no reoffending since.”
Deputy District Judge Liam McStay stated: “This man has a very poor record for public order offences.”
Defence counsel commented: “That is true, to his credit he did not kick off with police as he has been known to do in the past.”
Deputy District Judge McStay told the defendant: “You have been in and out of the criminal justice system for a number of years now for this type of offending.
“However, you appear to be making an effort to make changes so I am not going to send you to prison today.”
But he warned Smith: “If you don’t hold up your end, you will be put in prison.”
The defendant was sentenced to three months in prison suspended for two years.
In addition, Smith was handed a two-year disqualification and was ordered to pay a fine of £100, along with the offender’s levy of £15.