A 22-year-old student observed by police driving onto the footpath three times and crossing the white lines on the road, whilst speeding, was found to have been drinking alcohol.
In the case heard at Enniskillen Magistrates Court Andrew Dowdalls, Killyliss Road, Fintona was convicted of driving with excess alcohol in his breath, fined £300 and disqualified from driving for 12 months.
The prosecutor explained that on August 3 at 2.30am police were on patrol in the Sligo Road area of Enniskillen at the Derrylin roundabout when they observed a vehicle approach from Derrylin at speed, before braking hard at the roundabout, almost mounting the near side kerb.
They followed the vehicle into Enniskillen and observed it mount the footpath on three occasions and cross the white lines, whilst travelling at 60mph in a 30mph speed limit.
Police signalled for the vehicle to stop at Ann Street, going on to Queen Street, but it continued on and as they approached the roundabout at Enniskillen library the police car accelerated alongside the vehicle to get it stop. Police observed Dowdalls as the driver, with three other passengers; two females and another male.
When they spoke to Dowdalls officers noted a smell of alcohol, his speech was slurred and his eyes were glazed.
A roadside breath test was administered and subsequently failed and Dowdalls was arrested. A lower evidential reading of 72mg per 100ml of breath was obtained in the station, 37mg over the legal limit.
The defence solicitor claimed that on the evening in question his client had not planned to drive and had arranged for a lift. When the lift let him down he fell into the company of others who persuaded him to drive. “He rather foolishly took the wheel of the car,” remarked the defence.
The solicitor told the court that on the night the defendant estimated he had three drinks, but hadn’t eaten as he had been at the cinema and that could explain the high reading. In mitigation he highlighted the defendant’s early plea of guilty and that the defendant had never intended to drive.
The defence added that the student hopes to embark on university to study food technology and any disqualification would represent considerable difficulties for his client.
District judge Bonita Boyd took into account the ‘helpful’ comments and references made, before imposing her sentence.
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