PICTURE : MARK JAMIESON
A Ballycastle man who crashed a Volkswagen Golf into a parked van in the town was at the wheel with a “toxic cocktail” of drugs in his body including cannabis, a court has heard.
Conor Francis Ward (26), unemployed, of Castle Street, pleaded guilty to charges, including driving whilst unfit, when he appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday and was given a one year jail term, suspended for two years, along with a two year driving ban and fined £250. A prosecutor said around 12.30am on August 1 last year police were made aware of a two vehicle road traffic collision at Castle Street.
The defendant was travelling from the direction of The Diamond and told police he was “going too fast” and collided with an unoccupied ‘Renault Trafic’ van.
He was taken to Coleraine Police Station where blood samples were taken and the drugs came to light.
Defence solicitor Garrett Greene said his client had taken cannabis. He said the defendant had only been on a short journey to his home and accepts he should not have been driving.
Mr Greene said Ward, who was previously employed in the car trade, has now disposed of the vehicle.
The lawyer said although there had been one estimate that the damage was £2,500, Ward “made some degree of reparation” directly to the van owner.
Mr Greene claimed the owner had asked for £1,000 compensation.
District Judge Paul Copeland said the defendant had a “rather alarming cocktail of intoxicants” and had “ingested a significant range of drugs”.
The judge told Ward, who had a record: “You have a significant history in relation to drugs offences and here you are driving a vehicle under the influence of a toxic cocktail”.
The judge said the substances found in the defendant’s system on the date of the offence included cannabis and other substances.
Judge Copeland also told the defendant: “You put the public at risk here and other innocent road-users and pedestrians. Fortunately you didn’t get too far such was the degree of your intoxication but none of that was down to you”.