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Man driving van with no lights in Armagh city centre found to be over the limit

The deputy district judge said the 'only option is disqualification'

An Armagh man who was detected driving without his lights was found to be over the limit.

The deputy district judge commented: “The only option is disqualification. It is unfortunate given that this is a man without any fault in his record up until now.”

Michael Raymond Hart, 42, of Dobbins Grove, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol at the city’s Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Prosecution outlined that on January 10, police attention was drawn to the defendant’s van on Barrack Hill in Armagh, as he was driving without any lights on.

After being stopped in was noted that Hart stumbled out of the vehicle and when spoken to he admitted to having consumed beer.

A preliminary breath test was carried out resulting in a fail. The defendant was subsequently taken to Lurgan Police Station where an evidential sample of breath gave a reading of 54mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

Defence barrister Scott McWhinney stated: “He is a sole trader. He has no family and he is due to start an electrical course in Newry in September time.

“This is a man who has not had his troubles to seek. However, he has worked successfully at two businesses and now runs his own.”

He added: “This is not the highest reading your worship will have seen and if he is certified for the course he may be able to still avail of the course come September-October time.”

Deputy District Judge Trevor Brown commented: “The only option is disqualification. It is unfortunate given that this is a man without any fault in his record up until now.”

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

Deputy District Judge Browne certified the defendant for the drink driving course which would see his ban reduced to one of nine months upon completion.

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