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Man nominated for alcohol run because he was less intoxicated than friends

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A Lurgan man who was caught over twice the limit on an alcohol run has been disqualified from driving for 15 months.

The 22-year-old’s solicitor told court: “There was a skewed reason for this as the other people in the house were more intoxicated than he was.”

Manus Sweeney, of Lough Road, pleaded guilty to using a vehicle without insurance and driving with excess alcohol at Banbridge Magistrates’ – sitting at Newry – on Thursday.

Prosecution outlined that on June 17, at around 1.30am, police attention was brought to a Volkswagen Passat on Commercial Road in Banbridge.

Checks revealed that there was one female only named on the insurance policy for the car but the driver was a male.

Officers stopped the vehicle to speak to the driver, who was identified as the defendant.

It was noted that Sweeney was unsteady on his feet, his eyes were glazed, and he smelled strongly of alcohol.

A preliminary breath test was carried out resulting in a fail and the defendant was subsequently arrested.

Whilst at Lurgan Custody Suite, two evidential samples of breath were taken but police elected for a blood test to be conducted due to discrepancies.

A doctor was called and took a sample of blood from Sweeney at 3.33am. When analysed it revealed he had 165mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood.

During interview, the defendant made full admissions to the offences.

Defence solicitor Philip Reid stated: “He had been at a friend’s house drinking, and he took the decision to drive a short distance to purchase more alcohol.

“There was a skewed reason for this as the other people in the house were more intoxicated than he was.”

Deputy District Judge Sean O’Hare commented: “Why was it an option for him, is he not in control of himself?”

Mr Reid said: “It is a ridiculous reasoning. He is a 22-year-old man from Lurgan and his father passed away in August which has been difficult for him.”

Judge O’Hare stated: “Mr Sweeney, you come before the court for offences which are completely avoidable and shouldn’t have happened. By the grace of God you did not inconvenience anyone.”

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

The defendant was certified for the drink driving course which if completed would see his ban reduced by 25%.

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