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Markethill man ended up in garden 200ft from road after drowning his sorrows at hotel bar

A Markethill man who refused to submit to a breath test after veering off the road has been handed an 18-month disqualification.

The 43-year-old’s legal representative told court: “He had been promised work at a hotel in Banbridge but when he arrived he was informed there was no work and he made the stupid decision to start drinking in the bar.”

Paul Chambers, of Bunker Hill, pleaded guilty to failing to provide a specimen of breath at Banbridge Magistrates’ Court – sitting at Newry – last Thursday.

Prosecution outlined that on September 13, at around 8pm, police were called to one vehicle collision on the Lisnagade Road in Banbridge.

Upon arrival officers were waived down by a neighbour who had witnessed the incident.

He said the care had left the road and traveled 200 feet landing in an adjacent garden.

Police approached the car noting that the engine was still running, they noted a strong smell of alcohol as they observed the defendant in the front seat.

Chambers told the officers that he had not been the driver of the car and that they had made off.

A preliminary breath test was carried out on the defendant which resulted in a fail, he was subsequently arrested and taken to Banbridge Custody Suite.

Whilst there, Chambers twice refused to submit a sample of breath for testing and we charged for the offence before the court after he sobered up.

Defence counsel stated: “Mr Chambers was a podiatrist by trade but lost his job and is now a carer for his 99-year-old grandmother.

“On the day in question he had been promised work at a hotel in Banbridge but when he arrived he was informed there was no work and he made the stupid decision to start drinking in the bar”.

He continued: “He was left without a way home, he is very lucky to be here today after making this stupid decision and he panicked as he knew he had been caught when police arrived.

“He has met this face on and accepts that he did not act appropriately at the scene. He instructs me he took back roads which he was not familiar with as there was a parade in Banbridge.”

Deputy District Judge Sean O’Hare said: “You are due credit for your early plea and your clear record, unfortunately given behaviour at the scene and at the police station the court has no idea how much alcohol you had consumed.”

Chambers was disqualified from driving for 18 months and was ordered to pay a fine of £250, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 20 weeks.

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

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