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Armagh pensioner caught drink-driving at almost three times legal limit

'You made the choice to drive when you were completely inebriated. Fortunately there were no other consequences'

Armagh Courthouse

An Armagh pensioner has been fined and disqualified from driving after he was caught driving at nearly three times the legal limit.

Kevin Sheridan (72), of Ballycrummy Road, appeared before Armagh Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry Courthouse on Tuesday.

He was charged with driving with excess alcohol in breath and failing to provide a specimen of breath for a test.

At the outset of the court hearing, the charges were read to the defendant and he replied that he understood, entering a guilty plea.

Prosecution outlined that on May 13 this year, at approximately 1.05am, police were on patrol on Thomas Street in Armagh when a Volkswagen vehicle abruptly pulled out from a parking space in front of them, before turning back into the space.

Police spoke with the driver, who identified himself as the defendant, noting that he appeared intoxicated.

They could smell liquor from his breath and he was slurring his speech, unable to reply to basic questions. They also observed a plastic bag containing bottles of lager in the front passenger seat.

He was requested to provide a sample of breath and was afforded multiple opportunities to do so. However, he was unable to give a sample as he failed to follow instructions on blowing into the device.

The defendant was then arrested and taken to Dungannon custody where an evidential sample of breath was taken, returning a reading of 104 microgrammes of alcohol per 100ml of breath – the legal alcohol limit for drivers in Northern Ireland is 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100ml of breath.

A defence lawyer, speaking on Sheridan’s behalf, explained he had been watching football earlier in the day and had gone to a pub after he discovered the off-licence was closed, before taking the “foolish” decision to drive.

He added that the defendant, who is a retired builder and has one previous drink-driving conviction of “some vintage”, was “appalled and ashamed by his actions”.

Deputy District Judge O’Hare, paying particular note to the high reading, said: “Being back in court for the same thing is unacceptable.

“The level of alcohol is extremely high, there’s no way this is just one or two… You made the choice to drive when you were completely inebriated. Fortunately there were no other consequences.”

Judge O’Hare imposed a driving disqualification of 18 months, alongside a total fine of £400, giving the defendant 20 weeks to pay.

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