Man detected drink driving in Ahoghill after birthday 'celebrations'

Man detected drink driving in Ahoghill after birthday 'celebrations'

A MOTORIST detected over the limit at 1.15am on Saturday January 29 this year after leaving a bar in Ahoghill claimed he thought he was OK to drive when he stopped drinking after others bought him alcohol for his birthday.

A defence lawyer said Stewart McDonald (26), of Ballynafie Hill between Ahoghill and Portglenone, had gone to the pub for "one drink" to "celebrate" his birthday which had occurred on Thursday January 27.

Ballymena Magistrates Court heard police saw a vehicle in a bar car park and it started moving off but "quickly came to a stop".

Police then set up a vehicle checkpoint and when the vehicle approached it turned into Glebe Cottages.

When police stopped the vehicle they smelt intoxicating liquor and an evidential breath sample was 42 - the legal limit is 35.

The defendant had no previous convictions.

Defence lawyer Francine McFarland said the defendant had gone for "one drink" to mark his birthday and he had then accepted drink from others with the intention of not driving home.

She said the defendant had stopped drinking at 10pm and thought after a few hours he would be OK to drive and the police had stopped him "because they had seen his vehicle in around that area at that time".

The lawyer said the defendant, who owns his own farm-related business in Rasharkin, had no record and a clean licence.

She said the defendant lives in the countryside and as a result of losing his licence would no doubt have to rely on family members and friends for transport and he was "extremely regretful" for his actions.

The defendant was banned from driving for a year and fined £250.