'Reckless' drink driver from Millisle banned from roads for 20 YEARS

'Reckless' drink driver from Millisle banned from roads for 20 YEARS

A DRINK driver branded "reckless" has been jailed for seven months and given what is believed to be one of the longest road bans handed down in Northern Ireland - twenty years.

Christopher Ian Barclay (47), of Mill Road, Millisle, appeared at Newtownards Magistrates' Court via video link from prison where he had already spent time on remand in connection with the case.

The court heard he had ten previous drink driving related convictions and he pleaded guilty to two more excess alcohol road offences relating to Ballywalter on December 11 last year and Millisle on April 18 this year.

Regarding December, he also admitted driving whilst disqualified; being uninsured; obstructing a police officer and making a false declaration to obtain a Certificate of Insurance.

The defendant also admitted similar offences on April 18.

In the December incident the defendant had an alcohol in breath reading of 69 - the legal limit is 35.

Police had received a report of a possible drink driver and officers then saw a vehicle leaving church grounds in Ballywalter.

The court heard the defendant had a 20 year driving ban in place at the time.

In April, when there had been a single vehicle road traffic collision in Millisle, Barclay had an alcohol in blood reading of 156  - the legal limit is 80.

A defence lawyer said when the defendant doesn't drink "he doesn't get into trouble".

He accepted Barclay had an "appalling" record although there were "long gaps" in the offending.

Deputy District Judge Paul Copeland said it was a "concerning" case and he had "rarely seen such a record for offences of drunken driving".

He told the defendant the court had a "duty to the public who you have repeatedly endangered over a protracted period of time".

The judge said courts and the public "won't tolerate this type of behaviour" which he said had been "irresponsible" and "reckless".

Given what the judge described as an "appalling" record, he jailed the defendant for seven months and banned him from the roads for 20 years along with a two year conditional discharge.