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Portadown man accused of driving whilst almost four times the limit refused bail

'Most people would not be upright with that level of alcohol in their system but the Mr Matchetts of this world are'

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A Portadown man who is accused of driving whilst almost four times the legal limit has been refused bail.

Court heard the 52-year-old had three pending cases for allegations of drink driving, with a constable stating there was a concern that he would continue to drive whilst disqualified and under the influence.

Nigel Matchett, of Cherryville Road, appeared charged with driving with excess alcohol, driving whilst disqualified and using a vehicle without insurance at Armagh Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry, on Tuesday via videolink from police custody.

The defendant was connected by a constable, who also informed court that Matchett appeared on breach of bail, namely a condition not to consume alcohol.

Defence barrister Craig Patton confirmed that the breach was accepted and stated a bail application was being made on his client’s behalf.

Objecting to bail, the constable told court that Matchett had three pending cases for allegations of drink driving and there was a concern that he would continue to drive whilst disqualified and under the influence.

Outlining the last alleged offence, the constable stated that at 1.20pm on February 28, police in the vicinity of the Spar filling station on the Dungannon Road, Portadown, were approached by a member of the public.

They stated that a male who had just entered the nearby off licence appeared intoxicated and officers observed the same male enter a Mercedes car.

Police knocked on the window of the vehicle to get the male’s attention but he drove off. Court heard that one of the officers later identified this defendant as the same individual upon his arrest at his home address.

The constable outlined how an evidential sample of breath was obtained in custody giving a reading of 136mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath – almost four times the legal limit.

District Judge Bernie Kelly commented: “When you are a full blown alcoholic and you never let your liver dry out your tolerance for alcohol increases.

“Most people would not be upright with that level of alcohol in their system but the Mr Matchetts of this world are.”

Mr Patton explained that although his client accepted breaching bail, through his consumption of alcohol, he denied being the driver on this occasion, claiming the vehicle was used by a number of people.

He stated that Matchett had completed an alcohol rehab regime but had “fallen off the wagon” which led to the high reading.

District Judge Kelly commented: “There is no condition which will stop an alcoholic from drinking.”

She stated that it was a “certainty” that Matchett would reoffend and breach his bail conditions, adding that he was a risk to the public.

The defendant was refused bail and the case was adjourned until March 4.

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