A woman who was caught driving whilst over three times the limit after receiving news of her parents’ passing in a car accident in her native Lithuania has been handed a two year disqualification.
The district judge told the 40-year-old: “I do not accept that receiving bad news had any bearing on you driving whilst three times the limit. It isn’t an excuse and it cannot be accepted as an excuse”.
Inga Jarasauskaite, of Navan Court in Armagh, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol at the city’s Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry, on Tuesday, via videolink from police custody.
Prosecution outlined that on December 28, at 4.15pm, police on patrol in the Drumarg Park area of Armagh observed a female approaching a parked BMW.
However, upon seeing the officers she then turned and walked away from the vehicle.
A short time later, police spotted the same car driving and parking up on a driveway at an address on Navan Court in the city.
Officers spoke to the driver, who was identified as this defendant. It was noted that she smelled of intoxicating liquor and a preliminary breath test was conducted resulting in a fail.
Jarasauskaite was arrested and conveyed to Dungannon Custody Suite, where an evidential sample of breath was obtained giving a reading of 108mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath – over three times the limit.
Prosecution informed court that this defendant had no previous convictions, however, it was outlined that at the time of this offence she was on court bail for three similar allegations in recent months.
Defence solicitor Oisin Toner stated that Jarasauskaite had instructed him that on the date of the offence she had received news that her parents had been killed in a car accident in Lithuania.
He added that this defendant has lived in Northern Ireland for 26 years and that she had only driven “a very short distance”.
District Judge Philip Mateer stated: “I can’t understand her thinking, how her parents being killed in a car crash led her to her driving whilst three times the limit causing risk to people in a car accident here in Northern Ireland.”
Asked why she did not walk, Mr Toner commented that his client was in fear of assault from an ex-partner.
He said: “Not everyone is able to rationalise in the way they should when in situations like this. She does accept that she has done wrong.”
Addressing Jarasauskaite, District Judge Mateer stated: “I have listened to what has been said on your behalf. I do not accept that receiving bad news had any bearing on you driving whilst three times the limit.
“It isn’t an excuse and it cannot be accepted as an excuse. Even with the police initially spotting you, you returned when the coast was clear.”
The defendant was disqualified from driving for two years and was ordered to pay a fine of £400, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 12 weeks.