A FERMANAGH man socialising in Omagh late on St Patrick’s Day, who had an open bottle of alcohol in his car, claimed he was only moving the vehicle to a safer place, a court has heard.
Christopher South (23), of Drumhirk Road, Lisbellaw, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol on his breath at Lisanelly Avenue, Omagh on March 17, 2020.
Omagh Magistrates Court heard that police had received a report of a suspected drink driver on Bridge Street in Omagh. They subsequently observed the white Volkswagen Passat in question and brought it to a stop.
The driver’s eyes were glazed and his speech was slurred, the court heard. He identified himself as the defendant.
Officers noted there was an open bottle of alcohol in the car’s cup holder, the court heard.
After failing a roadside breath test, the defendant was taken into custody. A further evidential breath test returned a reading of 78 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath – a total of 43 micrograms in excess of the legal limit.
Defending solicitor, Bernard Corrigan, told the court his client had taken a number of people into Omagh on a night out and had been in the process of moving his car to a safer place.
In mitigation, the solicitor urged the judge to give credit for the early guilty plea and cooperation with the police.
He added that South lived in a fairly rural area and his licence would be essential to his efforts to regain employment.
District judge, Mark McGarrity, fined the defendant £300, ordered him to pay a £15 offender levy and disqualified him from driving for 12 months.