Motorist with long clear record banned

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A Magherafelt man was fined a total of £515 and banned from driving for 12 months at the local Magistrates Court.

Gary Stewart (58), of Salters Bridge, admitted driving while unfit through drink and failing to provide specimens for analysis.

The court heard the offences arose out of an incident at Broad Street in Magherafelt at approximately 11.15pm on April 1.

A prosecuting lawyer said police on mobile patrol observed a car attempting to pull out of a parking space outside a Chinese takeaway and followed the vehicle.

He said on stopping it they noticed the defendant was “swerving about” as he was standing speaking to them, and officers observed his speech was slurred and there was a smell of intoxicating liquor.

The barrister said Stewart repeatedly failed to provide a preliminary specimen of breath, despite being shown how to do it.

He was conveyed to Dungannon custody suite where he failed to provide an evidential specimen for analysis.

Admitting the offences defence barrister, Dean Mooney said the defendant had a 41-year clear driving record.

“He accepts that he had some alcohol taken and he instructs me he got into a panic,” said Mr Mooney.

He said the loss of his licence would result in the defendant losing his employment. Mr Mooney said the defendant apologised to the court for his actions. He asked for credit to be given for his “very long driving record.”

The judge certified the defendant suitable for the drink driving rehabilitation programme.