Man claims person made off in his car whilst he was retrieving his coat from boot in Ballymena town centre

A MAN refused to give police a specimen of breath saying he had done nothing wrong and that another person had driven his car for a short time before that person then left the vehicle.

Paul Cooke (57), of Birch Hill Avenue in Antrim, came to police attention at 11.20pm on September 10 in Ballymena town centre, the local Magistrates Court was told.

A prosecutor said police received a report of a BMW being driven erratically in the Broughshane Street area and the defendant was noted to be standing beside a vehicle at Broadway Avenue and refused to provide a specimen of breath.

A defence barrister said the defendant had rang his partner for a lift home after being out drinking and he had gone to his car to pick up a coat.

The lawyer said the key had to be put in the door to get the boot open and whilst he was getting his coat the car was driven off by another person.

It was claimed that the car was then abandoned a short distance away and the defendant spotted it and walked to the scene and was about to phone the police about what happened when officers arrived.

The defence lawyer said the defendant felt he did not have to give a breath sample as he “had not done anything wrong”.

At court the defendant pleaded guilty to failing to provide a sample.

District Judge Nigel Broderick noted he was being told that the person who took the car “just made his way into the night”.

He said the defendant had drink drive related convictions in the 1980s and 90s.

The judge banned the defendant from the road for 15 months and fined him £300.

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