A Newry man who was caught “zigzagging” on the road whilst under the influence of drugs has been fined £300 and banned from driving for one year.
Martin Ward, (36), of Spring Martin, appeared before Armagh Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry Courthouse, for sentencing.
He was charged with driving when unfit through drink/drugs, an offence to which he pleaded guilty.
The court heard that on April 28 of this year, police were approached by a member of the public reporting that a vehicle was “driving erratically” on the Newry Road in Armagh.
The vehicle was observed “zigzagging across the road”, reaching the white staggered lines situated in the middle of the road.
Police observed a vehicle heading in the direction of Newry along the Gosford Road. The vehicle was observed reaching the staggered white line in the middle of the road.
When the vehicle was stopped, police noted that the defendant’s demeanour was “evasive” and that he had “slurred speech, glazed eyes and was unsteady”.
Police conducted a preliminary breath test, which returned a negative result. The defendant was arrested on suspicion of driving whilst unfit, and was conveyed to Lurgan custody, where a blood sample was taken.
On July 19, forensic reports were received in relation to the blood sample, which discovered “numerous drugs” located in the defendant’s blood.
On August 2, the defendant was interviewed and disclosed that he takes medication prescribed by his doctor. However, he said that he had only taken codeine that day.
Ward’s defence barrister, Bobbie Rea BL, stated that his client, through “the auspices of addiction services, has obtained great in roads to his rehabilitation”.
He added that this was not recreational drugs, and that his client is “now fully aware of how this could have impacted upon other innocent members of the public”, adding that this had been a big factor, alongside “his medical improvements that are authenticated in the documentation.”
District Judge Anne Marshall imposed a fine of £300, alongside the £15 offender levy, and gave the defendant 12 weeks to pay. He was also disqualified from driving for a period of one year.