PICTURE : MARK JAMIESON
A judge told a County Antrim motorist who was caught with what is believed to be one of the highest drink driving readings to come before a court in Northern Ireland this year that he was “probably not that far from being unconscious”.
Thomas James Baird (59), of Craigs Road near Rasharkin, was found to be almost four times the limit after being detected at 3pm on May 20 this year at Gortahar Road, Rasharkin.
The defendant registered 134 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath with the legal limit being 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath. Although this case was only last month, an example of how bad it was, was that it was more than the highest reading recorded during the annual 2017 Christmas drink driving clampdown by the PSNI.
The highest reading during that campaign was recorded as 133 microgrammes of alcohol in breath.
Baird appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday and pleaded guilty to a charge of driving with excess alcohol in his breath.
District Judge Liam McNally said it was fundamental for him to say it but by driving a car with that amount of alcohol in his body meant he had not only put himself at risk “but anyone else who might have met you on the road”.
The judge said Baird was “probably not that far from being unconscious”.
Baird was given a four months prison sentence, suspended for two years, and banned from driving for two years.