Suspended prison term for drink driving

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A Lurgan man was given a suspended prison sentence last Friday at Craigavon Magistrates Court after he admitted a series of motoring offences.

He was Conal Vincent McKee (24), Forest Glade, Lurgan, and he pleaded guilty to a number of offences which happened on January 17 this year.

For driving with excess alcohol in breath he was sentenced to three months in prison, suspended for two years, and banned from driving for three years.

He was fined £200, with a £15 offender’s levy, and banned for six months for driving while disqualified.

A fine of £350 with a six month ban was imposed for not having insurance and he was fined £100, with a three month disqualification, for taking a vehicle without the consent of the owner.

The court heard that police received a report of a suspected drunken driver in the Waringstown area who was swerving over the road and hit a kerb. They detected the defendant on the Banbridge Road.

Checks revealed that he had been disqualified from driving for three years on October 30 last year.

When cautioned McKee said: “I stole it. I’ll tell you everything.”

The car belonged to a family member who had not given him permission to drive it. An evidential breath test gave a reading of 87.

The case had been adjourned from a previous court so that a pre-sentence report could be prepared.

Mr Conor Downey, representing the defendant, said McKee did not fit the profile of someone appearing before a court. He was an educated young man but had a troubled past over the last number of years.

He added that his client was a ‘particularly gentle soul’ who knew he had mental health issues and has been taking steps to address them.

Mr Downey said McKee had been before the court three times for matters which all involved alcohol.

He added that his client had successfully completed a community service order and after getting a lot out of it had volunteered for extra hours.

Mr Downey asked the court to leave something hanging over the head of the defendant and to impose hefty fines.

District Judge Benita Boyd said that given the defendant’s background and education the offences were somewhat surprising.

But, she added, on the other hand the court had to protect the public.