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Driver for film industry in Belfast loses employment after being found three times legal limit

PSNI police drink driving

A Warrenpoint man who was found to be over three times the legal limit after being stopped by police has been disqualified from driving for 12 months.

Court heard that the 47-year-old, who worked as a driver in the film industry around Belfast, had lost his employment as a result of the detection.

Leo Frederick McCabe, of Villa Grove, had a plea of guilty entered on his behalf to driving with excess alcohol at Newry Magistrates’ on Wednesday.

Prosecution outlined that on April 16, at 6.30pm, police observed a Volkswagen being driven on the Rostrevor Road, Hilltown, which had been circulated as a possible drink drive.

As officers followed the car, they watched as it crossed the central white line into the wrong lane on several occasions.

Police signalled for the driver to stop, he then pulled over to the wrong side of the road.

The driver, later identified as the defendant, stumbled out of the vehicle and made his way towards police.

It was noted by officers that McCabe appeared intoxicated – his eyes glazed, his speech slurred and he was unsteady on his feet.

The defendant was subsequently arrested and an evidential sample of breath obtained in custody gave a reading of 129mh of alcohol in 100ml of breath – over three times the legal limit.

Addressing the record, defence solicitor Ruari Gillen stated that there was one relevant entry from 2007 but since then his client had “stayed out of trouble”.

Mr Gillen informed court that McCabe worked as a driver in the film industry around Belfast and was the main carer for his mother, who suffers from spinal problems.

The solicitor stated: “He instructs that he was suffering from a little bit of depression over financial issues…in his line of work in the movie industry he is on short term contracts and so during the pandemic he was entitled to absolutely no furlough.

“On the day in question, he had been at a friend’s house drinking vodka and made the foolish decision to drive home.”

Mr Gillen said that McCabe’s employment will have ceased due to the inevitable result of these court proceedings.

District Judge Eamonn King commented that given that the only other entry on the defendant’s record was of a similar nature, whether alcohol was an issue.

Mr Gillen stated this was not the case with his client, through the nature of his job, often having to attend Belfast during the early hours.

McCabe was disqualified from driving for 12 months and was ordered to pay a fine of £350, along with the offender’s levy of £15.

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