A MAN who had gone to a forest car park for some “quiet time” after a row with his girlfriend was found to be three times the drink limit whilst in charge of a vehicle.
Police on mobile patrol were at Somerset Forest near Coleraine on August 4 this year and saw Tomasz Lewandowski sitting in the driver’s seat of a parked Volkswagen Golf.
The keys of the vehicle were in the driver’s door compartment beside his right hand.
The car flagged up as not having insurance or MOT and when the defendant exited there was a strong smell of intoxicating liquor.
He provided a preliminary reading of 127 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – the legal limit is 35mcgs – and later provided an evidential sample of 105.
The defendant told police he has a row with his girlfriend and went to the car park for some “quiet time”.
He said he had a bottle of vodka in a rucksack which he decided to drink and said he had no intention of driving the car until the following afternoon.
He said he had “forgotten” to insure and MOT the vehicle.
Defence solicitor Briege Martin said the defendant, from Mountsandel Manor in Coleraine, is 40 and had been driving for 23 years and had a Polish driving licence.
She said he had been in Northern Ireland for two years.
The solicitor said the defendant had paperwork for the insurance and MOT and the failure to follow up with it was an “oversight”.
Ms Martin said the defendant had been at his partner’s house and after having an argument Lewandowski couldn’t explain why he didn’t go home and drink alcohol.
She sad the defendant’s licence was important as he worked for a fabrication company.
She said the car has now been scrapped and that her client, who had a clear record, regretted what he had done.
The defendant pleaded guilty to being in charge of a vehicle with excess alcohol in his breath and using a vehicle without insurance or MOT.
At Coleraine Magistrates Court District Judge Peter King said that with the amount of alcohol in his system the defendant should have been nowhere near any vehicle.
He said if it had been a case of actually driving with drink he would have banned Lewandowski for 20 months but as it was an ‘in charge’ case he banned the defendant from driving for a year along with fines of £475.