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Drink driver refused to put seat belt on in police vehicle and tried to run off when car stopped

Defence said his client, who was being taken to Musgrave, had 'no money on him and was worried he would be stranded in Belfast'

An Armagh man who was arrested for drink driving refused to put his seat belt on whilst inside a police car and tried to run off when the car stopped.

The 44-year-old’s solicitor told court the defendant had been told he was being taken to Musgrave and worried he would be stranded in Belfast with no money on him.

Declan Sheridan, of Mullacreevie Park, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol and resisting police at the city’s Magistrates’.

Prosecution outlined that on February 23, police on the Nursery Road observed a Seat Leon which was swerving over the white lines on the road and at one stage was on the wrong side.

Officers stopped the car after it turned onto Cathedral Road and spoke to the driver, who identified himself as the defendant.

After smelling intoxicating liquor on Sheridan, police conducted a preliminary breath test which resulted in a fail and he was subsequently arrested at 2am.

Prosecution informed the court that the defendant’s 12-year-old son was a passenger in the vehicle at the time.

Sheridan was informed he would be taken to Musgrave police station for an evidential sample to be taken. At this stage he refused to put his seat belt on in the rear of the police vehicle.

The officers stopped their vehicle in order to put the seatbelt on the defendant, at which point he got out of the vehicle and tried to run.

Sheridan was placed back in the vehicle and was further arrested for resisting police.

Defence solicitor Chris Rafferty stated: “Mr Sheridan is totally apologetic. This is completely out of character. He is a mechanic and the inevitable loss of his licence is going to have a catastrophic impact on his employment.

“He was in his own home, his wife and friends had gone to a family function, whilst he stayed at home to look after the child.”

He continued: “He was in bed, when he got a call that his wife had hurt her ankle walking home and they had been unable to get a taxi for her. Instead of leaving the child home alone he took him with him.

“He has never been before the court before. In relation to the resisting, the police informed him he was being taken to Musgrave. He had no money on him and was worried he would be stranded in Belfast.”

Sheridan was disqualified from driving for 12 months and was ordered to pay a fine of £400, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 20 weeks.

He was certified for the drink driving course which would see his ban reduced to one of nine months upon completion.

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