Derry man jailed for driving offences

court hammerA judge at Limavady Magistrate's Court said that while he did not wish to send anyone to prison on the last day of 2014 he had been left with no choice after a man was found to be three times over the legal limit.

Paul McCloskey (36) of 1a, Horace Street in Derry admitted a series of driving offences including driving while disqualified, driving with excess alcohol and careless driving on September 28.

The court was told that police were called tot he scene of an accident in Dungiven Main Street.

When they arrived they found an ambulance already at the scene and discovered a car had hit the central reservation causing severe damage.

The driver of the car, McCloskey, was being treated in the ambulance and his speech was found to be slurred and he was arrested on suspicion of driving with excess alcohol before being conveyed to Altnagelvin Hospital.

A subsequent breath test revealed McCloskey to have a reading of 124 mgs while the legal limit is 35. In his initial interview McCloskey claimed that he had taken alcohol after the accident but in a later interview he accepted he had been drinking vodka in his house before taking his father's car without permission and driving.

Defence barrister Ms Catherine Devlin said her client had problems and had turned to alcohol. She said McCloskey's parents had been away and he had 'stupidly' driven to his sister's house. District Judge Liam McNally said while he did not want to send anyone to prison on New Year's Eve McCloskey had left him no choice.

He said that on October 2013 McCloskey had been convicted of almost identical offences and disqualified from driving for 18 months.

The judge said McCloskey was a danger others in that his alcohol reading was so high it was lucky he was 'capable of breathing never mind driving.'

He sentenced him to three months in prison, disqualified him from driving for four years and fined him £200.