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Court serves up 12-month ban for man caught driving after lunch-time drinks with friends

Defence said he 'waited a period of time which he thought was sufficient to allow the alcohol to leave his system but clearly that wasn't the case'

Drink-driving Armagh courthouse

An Armagh man who was caught over the limit after lunch-time drinks with friends has been disqualified for 12 months.

The 25-year-old’s barrister told court: “He met friends at lunch time for drinks. He then waited a period of time which he thought was sufficient to allow the alcohol to leave his system but clearly that wasn’t the case.”

Stuart Wells, of Drumgaw Road, had a plea of guilty entered on his behalf to driving with excess alcohol at Armagh Magistrates’, sitting at Newry, on Tuesday.

Prosecution outlined that on September 26, at 9.30pm, police were on Barrack Hill in Armagh when they observed a BMW pass them at speed in the direction of Hamiltonsbawn Road.

Officers lost sight of the vehicle for approximately one minute due to its speed, but later found the car on Orangefield Drive with the lights on and a male in the driver seat.

They spoke to the driver, who was identified as the defendant. It was noted that there was a smell of intoxicating liquor and that Wells was slurring his words.

A preliminary breath test was conducted which resulted in a fail. He was arrested and conveyed to Lurgan Custody Suite.

Whilst there, at around 11.51pm, an evidential sample was obtained which gave a reading of 57mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

Wells was interviewed making full admissions and was subsequently charged with the offence before the court.

Defence barrister Brendan Kearney stated: “He met friends at lunch-time for drinks. He then waited a period of time which he thought was sufficient to allow the alcohol to leave his system but clearly that wasn’t the case.

“He then drove a very short distance to his girlfriend’s house, which is also in Armagh. Your worship will note the reading of 57. That does appear to support his account that he did wait a period of time.”

He added: “The loss of his licence will have a significant impact on him. I would ask your worship to keep any fine to the minimum and to also consider certify him for the course.”

District Judge Eamonn King stated: “It was a plea of guilty at the first opportunity and for that he is entitled to the maximum credit.”

Wells was disqualified from driving for 12 months and was ordered to pay a of £200, along with the offender’s levy of £15.

District Judge King did certify the defendant for the drink driving course which would see his ban reduced to one of nine months upon completion.

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