A Richhill woman who was caught gulping mouthwash before she was pulled over by police has been handed a 12-month disqualification for drink driving.
The 61-year-old’s solicitor told court there was “nothing sinister” in her use of mouthwash as she suffered from gum disease.
Elizabeth Mason, of Legacorry Road, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol at Armagh Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.
It was heard the on August 17 at around 12.15pm the defendant was stopped by police driving an Audi in the vicinity of Legacorry Road.
Officers observed Mason lift a mouthwash bottle to her mouth before she was pulled over.
She failed a preliminary breath test at the roadside and gave an evidential reading in custody of 65mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath – almost twice the legal limit.
Court heard the defendant had been driving for over 40 years without any offences being committed.
Defence solicitor Jarlath Fields stated the previous night Mason had been drinking and had consumed some alcohol the following morning.
He added the defendant believed herself fit to drive by the afternoon and had pulled over to take a phone call when she was spotted by police.
With regards to the mouthwash, Mr Fields commented that it was “nothing sinister” and that Mason, who suffered from gum disease, was “simply rinsing her mouth”.
District Judge Paul Copeland asked if any forensic tests had been done on the mouthwash.
However, Mr Fields stated: “There was not but it is accepted that there was a very, very small amount of alcohol in this commercial mouthwash”.
Mason was handed a 12-month driving ban, with the opportunity to reduce this to nine months if she completed the drink-driving course.
The defendant was also ordered to pay a fine of £350, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 10 weeks.
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