Drink driving mother took son in car to lift daughter from disco

Drink driving mother took son in car to lift daughter from disco

The case was heard at Newry Magistrates' Court.

Staff reporter


Staff reporter

A BANBRIDGE woman has been banned for driving for a year after taking her young son to collect her daughter from a disco while over the drink-drive limit.

The case of 51-year-old Caroline Downey, of Edenderry Park in the town, was before Newry Magistrates’ Court, where she ws charged with driving with excess alcohol in her breath.

The court heard that police were on the Belfast Road in Newry heading towards the Sheepbridge Roundabout on 12 February when they noticed a Vauxhall Corsa directly ahead. The vehicle appeared to weave excessively across the central white lines several times.

Police turned on their blue lights and sirens and indicated for the Corsa to stop, which it did.

Officers spoke to Downey, while in the front passenger seat was a child who was approximately eight years of age.

They noticed the smell of alcohol from the defendant’s breath and noted she slurred her words together when she spoke.

A preliminary breath test was requested but she was unable to complete this. She was subsequently arrested on suspicion of driving with excess alcohol in her breath and driving while unfit.

She was taken to Banbridge Custody Suite where an evidential breath test was taken, the lower reading of which was 52 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath, one and a half times the legal limit of 35 micrograms.

Downey, who had no previous record, was subsequently charged.

A defence solicitor explained that Downey’s eldest daughter, who is 12, had been at a disco. Downey had come home from work and had a couple of glasses of wine before receiving a call to tell her that her daughter was in trouble.

“Foolishly she got into the car and brought her son to go and collect her daughter from the disco in what could only be described as a moment of madness,” the solicitor added.

“There was nobody else in the house to go and collect the child.

“She has never come before a court before. She genuinely is unbelievably remorseful.

“She works as a nurse in the Mater Hospital and requires her licence to travel to and from work.”

The solicitor added: “This is a woman who apologises profusely to the court, she co-operated fully with police and I would ask Your Worship to take that all into consideration.”

Deputy District Judge Marshall said that Downey had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and deserved maximum credit for doing so and took into account her previous good character. She also took into account the level of the reading “given the circumstances”.

As well as her driving ban of a year, Downey was fined £200 while the offenders’ levy of £15 was also imposed.

She was also offered the opportunity to avail of the drink-drivers’ course which, when completed, would reduce her ban by 25% to nine months.

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