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Driving ban for Keady man who refused breathalyser after fleeing accident scene

Defendant approached the injured party's vehicle and spoke to him saying something about 'sorting it' and asked if he was an 'Armagh fan'

Armagh Magistrates' Court

A Keady man who failed to provide a specimen of breath to police after leaving the scene of an accident has been handed a 12 month disqualification.

The 55-year-old’s barrister told court: “He did stop after the collision, he did speak to the driver but he did not subsequently conduct himself appropriately.”

Christopher McAuley, of Crossmore Road, pleaded guilty to failing to provide a preliminary specimen of breath, failing to report an accident, disorderly behaviour and failing to provide an evidential breath sample at Armagh Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Prosecution outlined that on August 7, at 9.10pm, police received a report of a road traffic collision on the Keady Road.

The injured party said he had been driving his BMW when he noticed car headlights behind him.

The vehicle behind did not slow down and collided with the rear of their vehicle.

The injured party pulled over to the hard shoulder and an Audi, which was the other car involved, pulled in behind.

He observed the defendant get out of this car and appear to stumble.

McAuley approached the injured party’s vehicle and spoke to him, saying something about “sorting it” and asked if he was an “Armagh fan”.

When the injured party talked about contacting police, the defendant said not to do this and he would meet at the fire station before driving off.

Police called with the last registered owner of the car and observed the vehicle outside the property with damage to its front.

Officers spoke to McAuley noting that his eyes were glazed and that he appeared unsteady on his feet.

The defendant refused to engage in a preliminary breath test and would not move from the front step of his home.

As police tried to escort him, McAuley began shouting and swearing which caused neighbours to come outside to see what was going on.

The defendant became aggressive and police had to use handcuffs to restrain him.

Whilst in custody, McAuley on several occasions refused to give a sample of breath to be tested.

Defence barrister Seamus Lannon stated: “This is a man who had heart surgery 18 months ago and he has not quite bounced back.

“He did stop after the collision, he did speak to the driver but he did not subsequently conduct himself appropriately.”

He added: “He has a very weak leg for which he has ongoing surgery and this can sometimes make it look like he is stumbling.”

McAuley was disqualified from driving for 12 months and ordered to pay a fine of £400, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 26 weeks.

He was certified for the drink driving course which would see his ban reduced to one of nine months if completed.

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