Excess alcohol driver ‘met friend for drinks in public area as pubs were closed during Covid lockdown’

A SOLICITOR for a man caught driving with excess alcohol in his breath during the height of the covid lockdown claimed her client had met a friend for drinks in a public area as pubs were closed.

Lawyer Emma McCann was speaking on behalf of Dermot Reid, whose 49th birthday was on Thursday – the day the case was dealt with at Ballymena Magistrates Court.

The drink driving offence was detected at Glenravel Road on April 22 this year.

The defendant, of Railway Park in Cargan, admitted the offence.

A prosecutor said police were on patrol at 10.30pm on April 22 when they observed a Nissan Juke vehicle “pull out in front of them” and it then swerved numerous times across the road.

When police spoke to the defendant an open bottle of beer was in the centre console and an open case of beer was in the back seat.

A preliminary breath test was failed and an evidential test was 54 – the legal limit is 35.

Ms McCann said that with lockdown and pubs not being open the defendant had gone to a public area and met with a friend and realised he shouldn’t have taken the car.

The defendant was banned from the road for a year and fined £200.

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