A COURT heard two people intended to stay the night in a vehicle at a Ballymena pub car park and the windows were steamed up whilst they slept amidst a smell of alcohol when police arrived at 1.15am on December 15 last year.
Ireneusz Pogonski (47), a recycling firm worker of Millfield in Ballymena, was in the driver’s seat with the key in the ignition moved forward one click but the engine was not running.
The defendant failed a preliminary breath test and when taken to custody he didn’t provide a breath sample in connection with an investigation as to whether he was in charge of the vehicle with excess alcohol.
At Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday he pleaded guilty to the charge.
The prosecutor said the defendant told police he had already given a sample in the car park at The Countryman pub and thought that was enough.
Defence solicitor Stewart Ballentine said the defendant wished to apologise.
The lawyer said on the date in question the defendant had attempted to make a statement to police in Polish and had been frustrated because of language issues.
He had not driven to the car park with drink onboard.
Mr Ballentine said a male friend of the defendant’s had arrived from Poland that day and had nowhere to stay.
The lawyer claimed that after a discussion involving Pogonski’s partner the visitor was unable to be accommodated at the defendant’s home.
The two men had then gone to the carpark and planned to stay in the vehicle for the night but at one stage they had gone to a nearby shop and bought a bottle of whiskey which they shared.
The court heard the defendant’s instructions were that in Poland it was not an offence to do what Pogonski had done.
The defendant was given ten penalty points and fined £300.
District Judge Nigel Broderick said he was giving the defendant the “benefit of the doubt”.
The judge said it may well have been the defendant’s intention to stay there all night “albeit that was somewhat unusual”.