Judge warns Fire Service employee to stop putting public in danger with drink-related motoring offences

Judge warns Fire Service employee to stop putting public in danger with drink-related motoring offences

A JUDGE warned a Fire Service employee he could not continue to put the public in "danger" after being convicted of a third drink-related motoring incident.

District Judge Mark Hamill was speaking at Newtownards Magistrates Court (main picture) to Philip Frederick Neil (58), with an address given as Ward Avenue, Bangor.

The defendant pleaded guilty to being in charge of a car whilst having excess alcohol in breath.

The court heard police saw the defendant sitting in a car outside a property at Ardvanagh Road, Conlig, on October 27, 2021.

He had the vehicle keys in his hand and his speech was slurred. There was a strong smell of intoxicating liquor.

He had an alcohol in breath reading of 109 - the legal limit is 35.

The court was told the defendant was given ten penalty points for a similar offence last year. There was also a previous related offence in 2001.

A defence lawyer said that in October last year the defendant had been drinking with his partner with whom he had a "tempestuous relationship".

The lawyer said Neil left her home and not having anywhere else to go had gone to his car to "sleep it off".

He said Neil was "caught red-handed" and the loss of licence was going to effect his ability to work.

The lawyer said the defendant had a long employment with Fire Service where he worked in a "mechanical capacity".

The judge handed down a four months jail term, suspended for three years; banned the defendant from driving for two years and fined him £400.

Judge Hamill told Neil: "You cannot put people in danger the way you have being doing, a bit incongruous coming from a fire officer".

He warned the defendant if there was a fourth similar offence he should "worry about how long you might have to spend in prison cell".