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Drink driver who failed to stop after passenger fell out of his car handed 12 month ban

His defence described it as an 'unusual case' which 'couldn't have been closer to going to the Crown Court'

A Silverbridge man who failed to stop after a passenger fell from his vehicle whilst drink driving has been disqualified for 12 months and sentenced to the same period of probation.

Sentencing the 21-year-old, the district judge commented: “How many times have we heard the outline of facts, that young men were out at the pub watching a sporting event, then all intoxicated they get into a car, an accident occurs and all too often it ends in a fatality?”

Eamon Hearty, of Silverbridge Road, appeared for sentencing on dangerous driving, driving with excess alcohol and failing to stop, remain or report an accident where injury was caused at Newry Magistrates’ on Wednesday.

Prosecution outlined that on January 19, at 7.25am, police received a report of an accident in the Silverbridge area in which an ambulance crew were dealing with a male who had been ejected from a vehicle.

The car which was identified as a Toyota Avensis, registered to this defendant. He had fled the scene but the vehicle was found close by having been involved in another collision.

Officers attended Hearty’s home but he had to be conveyed to Daisy Hill Hospital due to a drug overdose. Whilst there a sample of blood was taken for analysis.

A previous court heard, this gave a reading of 94mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood – the limit being 80mg.

Defence barrister Kevin O’Hare described this an “unusual case” which “couldn’t have been closer to going to the Crown Court”.

He stated: “This is a 21-year-old with a clear record, he has never been in trouble with the police before but there are mental health issues which he is dealing with.

“He is lucky to be here today with neither he nor his passengers being seriously injured….this does appear to be an aberration albeit a concerning one.”

The barrister submitted that a period of probation could be “beneficial” to the defendant.

District Judge Eamonn King stated: “The factors which prompted the court to order a report are two-fold, firstly the issues over mental health and secondly, this was two accidents in quick succession.

“How many times have we heard the outline of facts, that young men were out at the pub watching a sporting event, then all intoxicated they get into a car, an accident occurs and all too often it ends in a fatality?”

He continued: “I think the best sentence is probation for two reasons. First, it is an alternative to custody, now it would have been suspended, and you have a clear record.

“Second, it will allow you access to services or with people who have access to services in order to deal with the issues which you have.”

Hearty was disqualified for 12 months and was sentenced to 12 months probation, in addition he was ordered to pay a fine of £500, along with the offender’s levy of £15.

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