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‘I’m not even going to lie to you’: honest drink driver handed three year ban and suspended prison sentence

Defence said his client was 'long past the time he caught himself on'

Drink-driving Armagh courthouse

An Armagh drink driver who held his hands up after being observed by police has been handed a three year ban and a suspended prison sentence.

Court heard how, upon being approached by officers, the 38-year-old exited the vehicle and stated: “I’m not even going to lie to you. I’ve been drinking, I’ve been driving.”

Sean Francis Morton, of Corrigan Court, had pleas of guilty entered to driving with excess alcohol, driving whilst disqualified, using a vehicle without insurance and possession of a Class B drug at the city’s Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Prosecution outlined that on January 17, at 12.15am, police travelling to an unrelated matter along the Hamiltonsbawn Road, Armagh, observed a red car turn sharply upon seeing their vehicle.

Officers later spotted the same car parked facing a field with its lights off.

There were three occupants in the vehicle with one male, who was identified as the defendant, getting out and telling police: “I’m not even going to lie to you. I’ve been drinking, I’ve been driving.”

Prosecution revealed that Morton provided an evidential sample of breath which gave a reading of 69mgs of alcohol in 100mls of breath.

It was later discovered by police that the defendant was a disqualified driver and not named on the insurance policy for the vehicle in question.

Then, on March 21, at 7.30pm, police observed a red car parked on the Nursery Road in Armagh.

Upon approach, officers detected a strong smell of cannabis. They subsequently spoke to a passenger, identified as the defendant, who admitted to having smoked a “joint”.

A search was conducted with the defendant handing a bag of cannabis weighing less than one gram over to the officers.

He was cautioned for the offence and made full admissions.

Defence barrister Seamus Lannon stated that his client was “long past the time he caught himself on”.

He said: “He has shown glimpses in the past of showing the ability to stay out of trouble. He was recently dealt with in relatively serious matters in a way which essentially cleared the decks, knowing these matters were on their way.”

Deputy District Judge John Connolly stated: “I am just on the cusp of immediate custody but I will give him a final chance.”

In relation to the motoring matters, Morton was disqualified from driving for three years and was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for three years.

He was further ordered to pay a fine of £300, along with the offenders levy of £15.

For the drugs offence, the defendant was handed a conditional discharge for a period of 12 months.

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