Driver detected more than three times drink limit at 12.30am on January 1

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The Linenhall Street area of Ballymena. Picture – Google.

A man who was more than three times the drink drive limit in Ballymena town centre at 12.30am on January 1 this year has been banned from the roads for twenty months and fined £300.

Octavian Marian Ene (48), of Warden Street in Ballymena, came to police attention after a BMW was seen straddling two lanes at traffic lights at Linenhall Street.

A prosecutor told Ballymena Magistrates Court on January 31 that police officers dealing with the case noted the defendant, originally from Romania, “spoke no English”.

The defendant had an alcohol/breath reading of 110 with the legal limit 35.

Defence solicitor Stewart Ballentine said it was “not the start to the New Year this man was hoping for”.

He said Ene had been celebrating the New Year with friends and had decided to drive the short distance home when he “should have walked”.

The lawyer said the defendant, who was described as the “sole breadwinner” for his partner and children, wished to apologise and it was the first time he had ever been in court either here or in his homeland.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said it was a “very high reading”.

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