A Lurgan man who was found by police behind the wheel of a car whilst over the legal alcohol limit three times in as many months has been handed a three year disqualification.
The 32-year-old’s solicitor told court: “His mental health was extremely poor at this time and he had been hitting alcohol quite hard but he says that he has not taken alcohol since the last offence.”
David Marno, of Fair Winds, appeared for sentencing on a litany of motoring matters at Craigavon Magistrates’, sitting at Lisburn, on Friday via videolink from his solicitor’s office.
He was charged with driving with excess alcohol, driving whilst disqualified, failing to stop for police, failing to provide a specimen of breath, two counts of being in charge with excess of alcohol, two counts of taking a vehicle without authority and two counts of using a vehicle without insurance.
Prosecution outlined that on Christmas Eve, last year, police attention was brought to a Ford Fiesta which was stationary in a car park in the Enniskeen area of Craigavon.
Officers observed that the reverse lights of the car were on. They approached to find the defendant in the driver seat of this vehicle.
After noting a smell of intoxicating liquor, a preliminary breath test was carried out resulting in a fail.
An evidential sample of blood was subsequently obtained in custody, which gave a reading of 207mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood – over twice the legal drink drive limit.
On January 26, at 3.40am, police on patrol of the Granville Road in Portadown observed a vehicle stopped on the road.
Officers approached to find the defendant slumped over the steering wheel. It took a number of attempts to rouse Marno and a half empty bottle of Buckfast was observed in the central console.
The keys were in the ignition of the vehicle and after detecting a strong smell of intoxicating liquor, police required the defendant to engage in a preliminary breath test which resulted in a fail.
A subsequent evidential sample taken in custody gave a reading of 77mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath- over twice the legal limit.
Police checks later showed that Marno did not have permission to take the car, which belonged to his ex-wife, and that he was not insured on this vehicle.
On February 16, police attention was brought to a BMW on Portadown Road in Lurgan which was swerving all over its lane.
Officers signaled for the car to stop but it continued on before coming to a stop two miles on.
The driver was identified as the defendant, and due to his presentation a preliminary breath test was requested but Marno refused.
Police checks revealed that the defendant was not insured to drive the vehicle and that he was a disqualified driver from June 2017 until retested.
An evidential sample of breath was obtained in custody and this gave a reading of 74mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.
Defence solicitor Suin Downey stated: “This offending all occurred within about a six week period. As you can see from the report Mr Marno’s mother died just three weeks before this offending started.
“His mental health was extremely poor at this time and he had been hitting alcohol quite hard but he says that he has not taken alcohol since the last offence.”
She continued: “He is now living with his sister, he is unemployed but is very hopeful of getting back into full time work.
“He is trying to deal with his mental health issues and what he now accepts is an alcohol problem. It is is difficult with Covid but he does appreciate the position he has put himself in.”
District Judge Michael Ranaghan stated: “I was considering a custodial sentence, the only thought was to whether this would be immediate or suspended.
“But I am more at ease with the prospect of another sentence given that he is seeking professional help but he has knowingly and repeatedly put himself and others in serious danger.”
Marno was sentenced to 18 months probation and disqualified from driving for three years. He was also ordered to pay a fine of £100, along with the offender’s levy of £15.