PICTURE : MARK JAMIESON
A former Ulster rugby star turned financial adviser has been told by a judge he endangered himself and other road users after being caught almost three times the drink drive limit.
Sheldon Coulter (41), who was part of the Ulster team which won the European club cup final in 1999, was detected driving an Audi car at Lodge Road, Coleraine, in the early hours of Sunday April 22 this year. The defendant, whose address was given as Joanmount Gardens, Belfast, appeared in the dock at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday and pleaded guilty to a charge of driving with excess alcohol in his breath.
A prosecutor said police saw a vehicle driving slowly and crossing the central white line and then Coulter pulled in. The defendant admitted to police he had “drank some pints”.
He had a reading of 103 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – the legal limit is 35mcgs. Defence barrister Michael Smyth said Coulter, a self-employed financial adviser, had a clear record. Mr Smyth said the defendant had been with clients earlier and had been playing golf and later thought he was ok to drive.
He had nothing to eat and had only driven a short distance from where he was staying, Mr Smyth said. District Judge Liam McNally said his first consideration when he heard the alcohol reading was whether he should impose an immediate suspended jail term.
He told the defendant it was a “very high reading” but he took into account the clear record and guilty plea. Judge McNally told Coulter: “You endangered not only yourself but anyone else you may have met on the road that night”.
Coulter was banned from driving for 15 months and fined £500 and will have to re-sit his test before going back on the road.