A Newry man who was caught over the limit after going out to his car to have a smoke has been handed a two month disqualification.
Court heard that when cautioned for the offence the 33-year-old told police: “I wasn’t drink driving.”
Patrick Christopher Maughan, of Mourne View Park, had a plea of guilty entered on his behalf to being in charge charge with excess alcohol at Newry Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.
Prosecution outlined that on December 19, at 3.40am, police on patrol of Mourne View Park, Newry, observed a male who was unsteady on his feet exit the driver side of a Volkswagen Golf.
Upon approaching this individual, he ran into a nearby garden and threw the keys of the vehicle on to the ground.
This male was identified as the defendant and a preliminary breath test was conducted resulting in a fail.
Maughan was arrested with his reply to caution being: “I wasn’t drink driving.”
A subsequent evidential sample of breath obtained in custody gave a reading of 107mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.
When interviewed, the defendant made no comment to questions put to him by police.
Upon reviewing Maughan’s licence, the court clerk informed District Judge Eamonn King that the defendant had three live penalty points.
Defence solicitor Peter Hearty explained that his instructions were that Maughan had been drinking and had gone outside to the car in order to smoke, as his children live at the address.
He added that the defendant is “not the flavour of the month in the locality” and that he panicked upon seeing two males emerge from another vehicle.
The solicitor stated: “He did not know what they were there for. It may have been someone coming to cause him some mischief and the keys fell out of his hands as he ran off, due to his intoxication.”
Noting the penalty points situation, Mr Hearty asked for a short disqualification as opposed to 10 penalty points, which would see Maughan off the road for six months by way of totting up.
District Judge Eamonn King disqualified the defendant for driving for two months and ordered him to pay a fine of £200, along with the offender’s levy of £15.
Sign up for our weekly newsletter here.