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Man found slumped over steering wheel with open can of Magners escapes driving ban

Defence said: 'He instructs he had been turning the engine on and off to keep warm but had fallen asleep'

Drink driving Craigavon Court

A man was found slumped over his steering wheel with the engine running with an open can of Magners.

The 31-year-old, who escaped a driving ban, claimed he had planned on walking home and had driven to this location so as not to drink in the presence of his brother’s children.

Nerijus Bielskis, of Marian Avenue in Maghery, pleaded guilty to being in charge whilst unfit through drink or drugs at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Prosecution outlined that on February 19, at 11.25pm, police on patrol of the Maghery Road, Portadown, observed a Vauxhall Insignia at the side of the road, with side lights on and both front windows down.

Officers approached the car to find the defendant slumped over the side of the steering wheel. The engine was running and there was a strong smell of alcohol coming from inside the vehicle.

It was observed that there was an open can of Magners in the central console of the car. On the passenger seat was another can inside a plastic bag with plastic rings indicating it was a four pack.

Upon speaking to Bielskis, police noted that he was finding it difficult to answer questions and smelled of alcohol. He was arrested for being in charge.

Whilst in custody, an evidential sample of breath was taken giving a reading of 42mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The defendant declined to offer a sample of blood for testing.

Defence counsel stated: “He had a disagreement with his friend and made the foolish decision to drink. He lives with his brother, who has kids. He left the home and drove to a park so as not to drink in their presence.

“He says that he drank in the car but had planned on walking home and had no intentions of driving. I ask that he is not disqualified as he needs his licence to get to and from work.”

He added: “It was a cold night. He instructs he had been turning the engine on and off to keep warm but had fallen asleep. He was within a five minute walk from home.”

District Judge Amanda Brady stated: “This was an in charge offence. I will give you credit for you having no record and this guilty plea at the first opportunity.”

Bielskis was handed 10 penalty points and was ordered to pay a fine of £200, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 12 weeks.

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