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Man caught drink driving on wrong side of road could not remember how he got home

A man who was spotted driving on the wrong side of the road whilst more than twice the legal limit has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

The judge told the 30-year-old: “Here you are again, found in possession of drugs and intoxicated to a level that you cannot remember driving or how you got home.”

Kenneth George Doolan, of Main Street, Donaghcloney pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol, possession of Class B and failing to provide a specimen of breath at Banbridge Magistrates’ – sitting at Newry – on Thursday.

The prosecution outline the facts in the case, stating that on July 27, at around 12.20am, police on patrol of Lurgan Road in Banbridge, observed a BMW being driven on the wrong side of the road.

The car swerved into the correct lane as the officers’ vehicle approached.

Police attended the home of the last registered owner of the car and found it parked in the rear of the property.

There was a male in the front passenger seat of the vehicle, who identified himself as the defendant.

Doolan admitted that he had driven from Chestnut Place in Banbridge claiming he had just wanted to go to bed.

Noting that the defendant’s breath smelled of alcohol and that his speech was slurred police elected to conduct a preliminary breath test.

Doolan was unable to provide a sample of breath despite four attempts and was subsequently arrested.

During a search of the defendant a small amount of herbal cannabis was found to be in his possession.

Whilst in custody, an evidential sample was collected, giving a reading of 79mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

When interviewed, Doolan made full admissions to the offence, but claimed he could not remember driving.

He stated his memory loss was down to a mix of alcohol along with a mix of depression and anxiety medication.

Defence counsel stated: “This is a plea at the first opportunity; on the night in question he had been at a friend’s house party and he had arranged for a lift later in the early morning from his mother.

“However, he got embroiled in a physical altercation, and having previously suffered a fractured skull, feared for his safety, which led to him taking the foolish decision to drive home.”

He added: “As for the drugs this was a minimum amount of cannabis; to his credit he has recently gained full time employment.

“Since this, both he and his mother, have seen a change in his behaviour.”

District Judge Paul Copeland said: “Mr Doolan, your record is not insignificant with regards to previous convictions for drugs.

“Here you are again, found in possession of drugs and intoxicated to a level that you cannot remember driving or how you got home.”

Doolan was sentenced to three months in prison suspended for two years and disqualified from driving for two years.

The defendant was also ordered to pay a fine of £300, along with the offender’s levy of £15.

Judge Copeland certified Doolan for the drink driving course which would see his ban reduced to 18 months if completed.

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