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District judge says ‘absolute miracle nobody was killed’ in drink drive crash

Defence said defendant's parents live in the vicinity of the collision and they had 'foolishly given him a drink' following the incident

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A Newry man who was found to be over the limit after leaving the scene of a collision has been handed a 12 month disqualification.

Sentencing the 40-year-old, the district judge stated: “It is an absolute miracle that nobody was killed in this.”

Michael Malley, of Shinn Road, had pleas of guilty entered on his behalf to failing to report an accident, driving with excess alcohol and driving without due care or attention at the city’s Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Prosecution outlined that on January 25, at around 3pm, police received a report of a one vehicle collision on the Rathfriland Road, Newry.

Officers arrived at 3.20pm to find an Audi A2 which was blocking the road having collided with a gate post, however, the driver could not be located in the vicinity.

Ten minutes later, this defendant approached police and admitted to being the driver. A preliminary breath test was conducted resulting in a fail.

Malley was arrested and taken to hospital, and there a sample of blood was taken for forensic analysis.

The defendant was subsequently interviewed and released on bail pending the results of the blood test.

Prosecution informed the court that the sample gave a reading of 144mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood.

Defence barrister Bobbie Rea stated that Malley’s parents live in the vicinity of the collision and they had “foolishly given him a drink” following the incident.

However, the barrister said it was accepted that the defendant had been drinking “pre-accident” and the alcohol taken after “does not account for the reading”.

Mr Rea commented that the “inevitable” disqualification would have an impact on Malley and his employees, as the owner of a painting and decorating firm.

After observing photographic evidence, District Judge Michael Ranaghan stated: “It is an absolute miracle that nobody was killed in this.

“He has not only jeopardised his own safety but that of any other person coming around this corner. I can only hope the shock of that is sufficient in itself, along with a disqualification.”

Malley was disqualified from driving for 12 months and was ordered to pay a fine of £900, 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 to one of nine months upon completion.

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