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Drink driver caught after watching GAA match at pub gets seven year driving ban

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A MAN who took a family member’s car without permission to go to a pub to watch a televised GAA match, whilst banned from the roads until 2024, has now been hit with a disqualification lasting to 2028.

Police spotted John Brendan Carey (66), of Corkey Road, Loughgiel, driving whilst unfit between Ballyvoy and Ballycastle on March 1 last year.

He admitted a number of offences and last year his sentence had been deferred until now with a warning that if he committed a similar offence he faced an eight months prison term.

The defendant was back before Coleraine Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, in connection with driving whilst disqualified; using a Volkswagen Passat at Cushendall Road, Ballycastle; taking the vehicle without the consent of the owner and driving whilst unfit.

A failing to provide a sample had been withdrawn.

Defence barrister Alan Stewart told the earlier court the defendant had an “argument” with some family members as he “wanted to go out to watch a GAA match and he took a car that belonged to a member of the family without their permission”.

The lawyer said the defendant watched the match in a bar and had some drink and was then detected driving at a “slow speed”.

Mr Stewart had asked for a deferral to see if the defendant could stay out of trouble.

District Judge Peter King had deferred the matter until March 1 but had warned if there was any relevant re-offending a three months suspended sentence would be activated and added to a new five months sentence meaning a total prison term of eight months.

Back at court this week a prosecutor said at 10.50pm on March 1 last year police saw a Passat exit a pub car park at Ballyvoy and “swerve” over a white line at a corner on the way to Ballycastle.

Police saw it “continuously straddle the white lines” and although they activated their siren and lights the vehicle initially failed to stop.

When it did stop police smelt intoxicating liquor and the defendant admitted he had been drinking.

Mr Stewart said there had been no further offending since the deferral.

District Judge Peter King told the defendant: “You are a menace to road users and you shouldn’t be anywhere near the road”.

However, he said Carey had not re-offended since last in court three months ago and that was why he was not being jailed.

The defendant was given a five months prison term, suspended for three years, and banned from driving for seven years.

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