Lochside Garage

Woman banned – judge rejects claim she was threatened

A LOCAL woman has claimed she felt threatened into driving while more than twice the legal limit when a group of unknown young men jumped in her car and demanded a lift.  
Josephine Maguire (38), who now has an address at Kelvin Gardens in Omagh but was living at Rossorry Church Road in Enniskillen at the time of the offence, appeared at Enniskillen Magistrates Court on Monday where she pleaded guilty to drink driving and careless driving on September 28 last year. 
Her defence team asked for her not to be disqualified due to “special reasons” in the case.  
Maguire, who was also referred to as Angela Maguire in court, told the court that on the night in question she had parked at a local carpark around 400m from her house. At around 10.30pm she got a phone call from her sister telling her there were some young men hanging around the car. Maguire said she went to bed following the call but got back up again around half an hour later to get her handbag from the car. She said she had not intended on driving it. 
When she arrived Maguire said there were “four boys” by her car, holding glass bottles. She said they surrounded her and a couple jumped in the back, asking her to drive them to the Sligo Road. The care worker said she felt claustrophobic and in fear, and felt she had no other choice but to drive. She said she was relieved when she saw the police car behind her a short time later. 
The PPS noted Maguire had been stopped close to her home on Old Rossorry Road, not the Sligo Road. The defendant said she decided to let the males off close to her home as they had become rowdy while she was driving, and she told them they could walk to the Sligo Road over Coleshill. 
When asked why she did not immediately stop for police when she saw the blue lights behind her, Maguire said she stopped where she felt it was safe. 
Maguire said she had not mentioned feeling threatened to the officers who had stopped her as she was “terrified” at the time. The PPS representative pointed out she did not inform the police of what had happened in her interview later either,
District Judge Steven Keown said legal cases where special reasons would apply usually involved a defendant with a blood alcohol reading of less than 100mg in blood, while Maguire’s reading was 186mg, the legal limit being 80mg. He said the court must also be satisfied exceptional circumstances had required her to drive, such as in a dangerous or emergency situation. Judge Keown said he did not believe Maguire’s case met that criteria, stating he did not believe her evidence. He fined her a total of £450 and disqualified her from driving for 16 months.

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