A Galbally man who got into a car outside a bar in Dungannon and openly told police at the scene that he had consumed “several pints”, has been sent to prison.
Forty year-old James Andrew Lockhart, from Upper Cranlome Road, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance, when he appeared before Dungannon Magistrates Court.
A prosecuting lawyer outlined the circumstances of the incident, explaining that shortly before 2am on June 13, police were alerted to the defendant, who was outside licensed premises on Irish Street and got into a blue Mini Cooper car.
When spoken to by the officers, Lockhart told them he had consumed several pints, and a sample of breath provided by him subsequently showed his alcohol level to be 56mg, 21mg in excess of the legal limit.
Lockhart also admitted being a disqualified driver, and told police he had gone out because he “wanted to go and get a drink”.
Defending, Lockhart’s barrister, Noel Dillon, told the court his client had battled depression for a number of years and that he had also experienced difficulties with alcohol.
Mr Dillon described Lockhart as “a family man” but said that, on this occasion, Lockhart had gone out for a drink without caring about the consequences of what he was doing.
Addressing Lockhart, who was in breach of a suspended sentence relating to a previous incident involving offences of driving while disqualified and without insurance, District Judge John Meehan told him: “You have a long run of convictions, which are overwhelmingly for motoring offences.”
District Judge Meehan imposed a prison sentence of six months in total in relation to the three offences before the court.
In addition, Lockhart was disqualified from driving for a period of five years.