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Driving ban for south Armagh teen who got behind wheel whilst under the influence of cannabis

Defence said his client 'accepted that he had ingested cannabis earlier that afternoon whilst at a friend's house'

A south Armagh teenager who drove whilst under the influence of cannabis has been disqualified from driving for 12 months.

Court heard the 19-year-old accepted ingesting the substance earlier that day but had believed the “acute symptoms” had worn off.

Matthew Dowdall, of Ferryhill Road, pleaded guilty to driving whilst unfit through drugs and possession of a Class B drug at the city’s Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

It was heard that on November 20, police were performing a vehicle checkpoint on the Dublin Road, Newry, when they noticed a Seat Leon which was not travelling at a constant speed.

Officers stopped the vehicle and detected a strong smell of cannabis.

During a search a small amount of cannabis was located inside the car and the defendant was subsequently arrested.

A blood sample was taken from Dowdall which confirmed that there was cannabis in his system.

Defence counsel stated: “This was a plea at the first opportunity, Mr Dowdall accepted that he had ingested cannabis earlier that afternoon whilst at a friend’s house.

“He had waited some time and felt the acute symptoms had worn off.”

He continued: “He is in attendance with his mother and father who are very disappointed in him, along with he in himself.”

Dowdall was disqualified from driving for 12 months and ordered to pay a fine of £350, along with the offender’s levy of £15.

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