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Man given chance to prove he is ‘on the straight and narrow’ after third drink driving offence

The district judge said: 'He is putting people's lives at risk when he gets into a car in that state'


A Tandragee man who faced his third entry for drink driving has been given a chance to show he is on “the straight and narrow”.

Court heard the 32-year-old was detected by police after narrowly missing their vehicle.

Justin Douglas, 32, of Portadown Road, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol, driving whilst disqualified and using a vehicle without insurance at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Court heard that on February 23, at around 5pm, police were on mobile patrol of Mahon Road, Portadown, when the vehicle was almost hit by a Renault Clio emerging from an unnamed side road.

A dog was jumping in the passenger seat of the car and the defendant, who was the driver, appeared dazed.

Officers spoke to Douglas and noted a strong smell of intoxicating liquor.

Details obtained from the defendant showed that he was a disqualified driver, having been handed a four-year ban in August 2017.

A preliminary breath test was conducted resulting in a fail.

The defendant was arrested and taken to Lurgan Custody Suite where a reading of 98mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath was obtained.

During interview, Douglas gave a full and frank interview admitting to knowing he was a disqualified driver.

Defence barrister Aaron Thompson stated: “Mr Douglas accepts that this is an extremely serious matter and he knows that his liberty is at risk.

“This is not just driving whilst disqualified given his record.”

District Judge Bernie Kelly commented: “There is no point in suspended sentences. He already has had one, there is no point in a community service order that didn’t work.

“There isn’t much left Mr Thompson.”

Mr Thompson stated: “He has disposed of the car, he has got himself work, he has been an inpatient for alcohol treatment.

“This is a man who suffers from depression and this grew due to money problems.”

He added: “If you give him a community service order and he is back before you in three to six months, he knows he will be going to jail.”

District Judge Kelly stated: “He is putting people’s lives at risk when he gets into a car in that state.

“This is his third entry for this type of offence and this time he did it whilst disqualified.”

She said: “I am going to give him a chance to see whether he can keep on the straight and narrow.”

Sentencing in the case was deferred until May 1, 2020, with Douglas told to stay away from alcohol and not come to police attention.

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