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Co Armagh man sitting in passenger seat with car keys handed 18 month driving ban

Police responded to reports of loud music coming from car

A Craigavon man has been banned from driving for 18 months by a judge who said he “has not learnt that drink and cars don’t mix”.

Deputy District Judge Chris Holmes told the 46-year-old that this sentence was half what he probably should get.

Mark Anthony Lavery, of Richmond Gardens, pleaded guilty to being in charge of a vehicle with excess alcohol in his breath.

Craigavon Magistrates’ Court heard on Wednesday that, at 12.30am on July 24, police were called to Coronation Street, Craigavon, to reports of a loud music coming from a vehicle.

They arrived to find the defendant sitting in the passenger seat of the car with the keys to the vehicle in his possession.

Officers observed an open beer can in the footwell of the driver’s seat and submitted Lavery to a preliminary breath test which he failed.

He was subsequently taken to Lurgan Custody Suite where a second test was administered which showed the defendant to have had 84mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

Court heard that despite his age Lavery was on his current licence to be a restricted driver until 2019.

Defence counsel conceded this had been just a short time after the defendant had regained his licence and stated “this is a drunk in charge – he had driven to a friend’s house and had been sitting on the steps drinking”.

It was revealed Lavery was an engineer who had abstained from alcohol since this previous incident.

Deputy District Judge Holmes commented: “There are a number of very concerning points, for instance, he told police he drank a couple of pints that day.”

He continued: “The problem is he had just got his licence back for drink driving and has not learnt that drink and cars don’t mix.”

Lavery was disqualified for 18 months with Deputy District Judge Holmes stating “this is half of what you should probably have got”.

In addition, he was ordered to pay a fine of £250, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 10 weeks.

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