POLICE noticed a Toyota Yaris with two flat tyres do a U-turn at 1.30am on July 22 this year and found the driver was over the limit.
Paul Hamilton (40), of Larne Road, Ballymena, came to police attention at Antrim Road in Ballymena, and told police he had taken the wheel as he thought his friend was, a prosecutor said, “too intoxicated to drive”.
The defendant had an alcohol in breath reading of 89 at a police station – the legal limit is 35.
Defence solicitor Stewart Ballentine said the only reason the defendant was behind the wheel was because the vehicle owner, who was in the passenger seat, was “perhaps worse” than his client who nonetheless had felt he was capable of driving home.
Added Mr Ballentine: “He was basically helping his friend out and now he is the man that is paying the penalty for it.”
The defendant admitted charges of driving with excess alcohol, absence of insurance and a driving licence offence.
District Judge Nigel Broderick told Ballymena Magistrates Court it was a high reading and banned the defendant from driving for 18 months and fined him £300.