A WOMAN who failed to provide samples of breath to police claimed she had been at home but had then gone out in a vehicle as she was “distraught” after being told her boyfriend had fallen and had been taken by ambulance to hospital.
Laura Scott (29), of Ferrard Green in Antrim, was at Ballymena Magistrates Court for sentencing in relation to incidents in Antrim on July 4 this year. The defendant had pleaded guilty to the offences.
A prosecutor said around 11.45pm police received a report that an “intoxicated” female had left the Top of the Town bar and had driven off in a yellow BMW.
The prosecutor said police then received a further report that she was back outside the bar in the vehicle and when police attended they saw her standing beside the car and car keys were handed to police by door staff.
The defendant was unsteady on her feet and police detected a strong smell of intoxicating liquor.
Police established a member of staff had been handed the keys by the defendant.
Police then asked her three times for a sample and she refused and at Antrim Police Station she refused to provide an evidential sample.
Deputy District Judge Philip Mateer said he was interested in the police description of the defendant being “upset and emotional” when they arrived at the bar.
Defence barrister Stephen Law said the defendant had been out with her boyfriend and had gone home and was in bed when she received a phone call that her boyfriend had fallen and had been taken by ambulance to Antrim Area Hospital.
He said the defendant had gone to the hospital to see if he was OK and felt she was able to drive as she had not been drinking for a period of around three hours.
The lawyer said the man was not at Antrim Area and “distressed and distraught” that she couldn’t find her boyfriend the defendant had then gone back to the bar to see if he was still there or perhaps “outside unconscious”.
“That’s why she was visibly distressed and upset. She handed the keys to the barman because she knew then she had nowhere else to go,” Mr Law said.
The lawyer said that in her “distressed state” the defendant didn’t fully appreciate the ramifications of not providing a specimen.
He said the defendant is a civil servant and it had just been a “nightmare night for her”.
The defendant was banned from driving for a year and fined £400.
The judge said: “I suppose people, when they have consumed alcohol, sometimes make the wrong judgement or the wrong decision. There were many ways she could have traced her boyfriend or even gone to the hospital without herself having to drive”.