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‘Beggar’s belief’: Drink driver caught in early hours before court date for similar offences

After an argument with his partner defendant 'took her vehicle and made the foolish decision to drive around Newry'

PSNI police drink driving

A south Armagh man who was caught driving whilst over the limit in the early hours of the day of a court case relating to similar matters has been sentenced to five months in prison.

Also disqualifying the 38-year-old for seven years, the deputy district judge commented: “The fact that he would commit these offences in the early hours knowing he was due in court…it really beggars belief.”

Michael Traynor, of Killeavey Road, Newry appeared for sentencing on a total of six driving offences at the city’s Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, via videolink from Maghaberry.

He had previously had pleas indicated to driving with excess alcohol, driving whilst disqualified, failing to stop for police, dangerous driving, using a vehicle without insurance and taking a vehicle.

Prosecution outlined that in the early hours of September 9, officers on patrol in the vicinity of Patrick Street in Newry had their attention drawn to a Ford Mondeo due to the manner in which it was being driven.

Officers observed the car driving erratically crossing the white line markings on the road and signalled for the driver to stop.

However, the vehicle sped off at speeds estimated by police of between 60 and 70 miles per hour, in what is a 30mph zone.

The driver proceeded to overtake a lorry before a stinger was deployed on the road ahead by another police patrol.

Officers followed the vehicle for a further five miles. A male was located nearby and appeared to discard an item.

This was found to be the key to a Ford vehicle and the male in question was identified as the defendant.

It was noted that Traynor smelled of intoxicating liquor and a preliminary breath test was carried out resulting in a fail.

The defendant was arrested and conveyed to Banbridge custody suite, where an evidential sample of breath was obtained giving a reading of 96mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath – over twice the legal limit.

During interview, Traynor denied all of the allegations.

Defence solicitor Padraig Tiernan told court that the day after this incident his client was sentenced to three months in custody and disqualified from driving for five years, for similar offences.

He stated: “He had an argument with his partner. He was drinking at her home at the time. He took her vehicle and made the foolish decision to drive around Newry.

“He made an amateur attempt to avoid police. He initially denied the offences during interview but has since entered guilty pleas.”

Deputy District Judge Anne Marshall commented: “He knew he was due up in court on the ninth, but here he was out committing these offences in the early hours of the ninth.

“His record, which is relatively limited, is atrocious with regards to driving offences. This is his fourth set of driving offences for which he has appeared before the court.”

She added: “The fact that he would commit these offences in the early hours knowing he was due in court…it really beggars belief.”

Traynor was sentenced to five months in prison and was disqualified from driving for a period of seven years.

In addition, an immediate warrant was made for a fine of £100.

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