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Armagh teen caught almost twice the limit night before work given 12 month ban

She had been travelling home from a friend's house as she had to work the next day and 'had only travelled a short distance', defence said


An Armagh teenager found to be almost twice the limit travelling home from a friend’s house as she had work the next day has been handed a 12 month ban.

The 19-year-old’s solicitor told court: “It is fortunate the police stopped her when they did as she had only travelled a short distance.”

Mary Jane Donnelly, of Ballygassoon Road, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol at Armagh Magistrates’, Court, sitting at Newry, on Tuesday.

Prosecution outlined that on February 1, at 1.35am, police had reason to stop the defendant driving a car on Lower English Street, Armagh.

Upon speaking to Donnelly, it was noted that she could not hold eye contact with the officers.

A preliminary breath test at the roadside resulted in a fail, with a subsequent evidential sample obtained in custody giving a reading of 69mg in 100ml of breath – almost twice the legal limit.

Defence solicitor Colleen McCreesh stated that the defendant had been making the journey home from a friend’s house as she was working the next day.

She said: “It is fortunate the police stopped her when they did as she had only travelled a short distance. She wishes to apologise for her actions.”

The solicitor added that the loss of licence would have an “impact” on Donnelly, who is a carer for her mother.

Taking into account the defendant’s youth and absence of previous record, Deputy District Judge Philip Mateer disqualified her from driving for 12 months and ordered her to pay a fine of £400, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 16 weeks.

In addition, Donnelly was certified for the drink driving course which would see her ban reduced to one of nine months upon completion.

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