Found sleeping in car after ‘topping-up session’ in a Rathfriland pub

Found sleeping in car after ‘topping-up session’ in a Rathfriland pub

The case was heard at Newry Magistrates' Court.

Staff reporter

Reporter:

Staff reporter

Wednesday 27 July 2022 14:37

A HILLTOWN man who was found driving at more than three times the legal limit has been banned from the roads.

Paul Damien Murray, 53, of the Kilkeel Road, was found guilty of driving with excess alcohol in breath, having no driving licence and failure to provide a preliminary breath sample.

Newry Magistrates’ Court heard that at 4.45pm on 21 June this year, police received a report of a suspected drink driver in the Hilltown area.

The court heard a vehicle had been observed driving erratically between Rathfriland and Hilltown and a short time later police located it in The Square car park in Hilltown, stationary with the engine running.

The defendant appeared to be asleep, was unaware of the police’s presence and there was a strong smell of intoxicating liquor.

He provided an evidential reading of 115 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, more than three times the legal limit of 35 microgrammes.

Defence counsel for Murray told the court on the day in question, he had gone to the doctor in Rathfriland in order to obtain a sick note. Whilst in Rathfriland, he had a few drinks in a nearby pub before driving to Hilltown.

“It is a very high reading, explained to some extent by the fact that he says he had taken alcohol the night before and so the afternoon drinks were a topping up session,” stated the defence.

The court also heard that Murray was disqualified from driving in 2019 for one year and had intended to get his licence back but hadn’t been able to do so because of difficulties presented by Covid.

“He does realise that he faces a significantly longer disqualification as a result of this incident and apologises to the court.”

District Judge Eamon King, making reference to the defendant’s record, said there was “a certain inevitability” in what he was going to do.

Murray was disqualified for three years and fined £250 as well as an offender levy for driving with excess alcohol, banned a further year and fined £25 for having no driving licence and £75 for failing to provide a preliminary breath specimen.

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