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Newry man who crashed girlfriend’s car whilst drink driving after ‘row’ handed 12 month ban

The deputy district judge - who also fined defendant £500 - said it was a 'very expensive lesson' for him

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A Newry man who crashed his girlfriend’s car, leaving it on its side, whilst drink driving after a ‘row’ has been handed a 12 month disqualification.

Commenting that this was a “very expensive lesson” for the 29-year-old with no record, the deputy district judge also ordered him to pay a fine of £500.

Mark Hughes, of Barcroft Park, pleaded guilty to aggravated taking and causing damage to a vehicle, using a vehicle without insurance and driving with excess alcohol at the city’s Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, via videolink from his solicitor’s office.

Prosecution outlined that on September 30, police received a report of a one vehicle collision on the Chancellors Road in Cloghoge.

Officers arrived to find a Mercedes C-Class on its side with significant damage but no persons were present.

A short distance away, police located the defendant. It was noted that he smelled of intoxicating liquor and that he had blood on his face.

Officers conducted a preliminary breath test at the scene, resulting in a fail, and Hughes was subsequently arrested.

Whilst at Banbridge Custody Suite, an evidential sample of blood was obtained which gave a reading of 197mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood – over twice the legal limit.

The airbag of the vehicle had been deployed. A swab of blood taken from this matched with the defendant’s DNA.

Defence solicitor Gerard Trainor stated: “This is a man with a clear record and of good character. He had a row with his girlfriend and all of these charges arise from this one stupid mistake.

“I can tell from his presentation today that he will not be before the court again.”

Deputy District Judge Anne Marshall commented that it was a “very expensive lesson” as she disqualified Hughes from driving for 12 months and ordered him to pay a fine of £500, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 26 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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