A MOTORIST with one of the highest alcohol readings detected on Northern Ireland’s roads this year – whose video link appearance at court on Thursday coincided with the police launching their Christmas anti-drink drive campaign – has been jailed for ten months and banned from getting behind the wheel for five years.
Mariusz Kucinski (30), of Main Street in Portglenone, was detected driving near his address in a Peugeot 206 on November 5 this year – just a few days after being given a suspended jail term and being banned for four years at a court for another similarly high drink reading.
On October 28 he had been in court and admitted driving with excess alcohol in his breath whilst using the same Peugeot car at Ballymacombs Road between Portglenone and Bellaghy, in connection with October 25 this year.
In relation to October 25 he also admitted possession of cannabis; insurance and a driving licence offences as well as having defective tyres.
A PSNI Facebook page had previously made reference to the October case and said the defendant was ‘almost four times the limit’.
On Thursday, Ballymena Magistrates Court heard that on November 5 – this time in Portglenone – the defendant registered 136 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath with the legal limit being 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.
Although the detection was outside the period of the police’s Christmas crackdown the 136 reading is higher than the highest reading recorded – 133 – in the PSNI 2017/18 Christmas/New Year anti-drink campaign.
Last year the highest figure in the Christmas campaign was 153.
Kucinski – originally from Poland – appeared at Ballymena Court on Thursday via video link from prison where he has been on remand after being taken into custody on November 5.
He pleaded guilty to charges of driving with excess alcohol in breath; driving whilst disqualified and being uninsured on November 5.
A prosecutor said police were on mobile patrol in the Portglenone area when they received a report of a male motorist under the influence and when they spoke to Kucinski he smelt of intoxicating liquor and his eyes were glazed.
He failed a preliminary breath test and when he gave an evidential sample two and a half hours later he had a reading of 136 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.
It emerged he had been given a five months suspended jail term and was banned from driving for four years at court on October 28.
When interviewed the defendant said he had been drinking throughout the day on November 5 and had been moving the vehicle.
Defence solicitor Sara Edge said Kucinski was moving the car from a car park to another parking place as he was aware the car was uninsured and he wanted to “get it off the road”.
She said her client had shown “very poor judgement”.
District Judge Steven Keown told Ballymena Court the defendant had received a previous suspended sentence and breached it within eight days of being in court.
He said the “public has to be protected” and said he worried if Kucinski re-offended, crashed and “kills somebody”.
The judge activated the suspended sentence and added five months for the new offences making a total of ten months in custody and also banned the defendant from driving for five years.