Court hears concerned member of public ‘stopped’ over-the-limit Carnlo…

Ballymena Courthouse. INBT02-213AC

When arrested and taken to a police stop the driver – Sonya McGuckin (47), of High Street, Carnlough – had a reading of 149 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath – the legal limit is 35.

Ballymena Magistates Court, on Thursday, heard the detection was made at Carnlough Road, Broughshane, on August 29 this year.

The defendant had also taken a car without authority; was uninsured and had no driving licence. She pleaded guilty to all the charges.

A prosecutor said at 12.35 in the afternoon police attended Carnlough Road following a report from a “member of the public who had stopped a motorist they believed to be intoxicated”.

Defence solicitor Kevin MacAllister said the mother-of-four had “resorted to alcohol as a coping mechanism”.

On the day in question, the lawyer said McGuckin had been drinking and received a call from a family member who was in “some distress”.

The solicitor said the defendant then took what he said she described in a pre-sentence report as a ‘reckless and irresponsible decision to excursion to her aid’.

He said with the level of drink taken McGuckin’s “decision-making ability was severely impaired”.

The lawyer said the drink reading was “astronomical” and the defendant was “thoroughly ashamed of her actions”.

District estimate Nigel Broderick said: “What aggravates this offence is a very, very, high reading. It is perhaps just but for the grace of God that nobody was injured or killed.

“Anybody that gets in a means with that amount of alcohol in their system, it is very much in the lap of the Gods what happens thereafter”.

McGuckin, who appeared at court via a video link from the solicitor’s office, was given a four months prison term, suspended for two years; and was banned from driving for two years along with a £100 fine.

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