Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

One week ban for managing director over drink-drive limit and sleeping at wheel

Harry David Parkinson
Harry David Parkinson

A prominent business figure has been banned from driving after being found asleep at the wheel of his car while over the drink-drive limit.

Harry David Parkinson (50), the managing director of a commercial finance operation, was banned for one week after he admitted being in charge of a car while over the limit.

Newtownards Magistrates Court heard yesterday that a "concerned" member of the public contacted police on May 15 when they spotted Parkinson asleep at the wheel of his car on Mayfair Avenue in Belfast.

A prosecuting lawyer said a PSNI officer went to the scene and found Mr Parkinson asleep in the driver's seat with the keys in the ignition. He added that when he was breathalysed, the sample have a reading of 54 milligrammes of alcohol, almost 20 over the limit.

Defence QC Liam McCollum said Parkinson, from Black Quarter Lane in Carryduff, was pleading guilty to the offence. He outlined to the court how, during a flight back from a London that day, the businessman had drank a beer and a mini bottle of vodka.

The lawyer told the court that Parkinson, who was not present in court yesterday, had not intended to drive but instead, to sleep it off so that he was not over the limit while driving.

Mr McCollum said Parkinson, who is managing director of the Belfast-based Close Brothers Group PLC, "travelled considerably both by car and plane" as part of his job through which he employs 50 people.

He asked District Judge Des Perry to keep any disqualification to a minimum given his good work and driving record, his family commitments and the low reading.

As well as banning Mr Parkinson for a week, Judge Perry fined him £300 with an offender levy of £15.

On its website, Close Brothers are described as the "leading UK merchant bank group" which employs a total of 2,700 people with offices all over the UK and Ireland and is one of the largest of the 250 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange.

The Belfast operation is headed up by Parkinson, who is a regular media commentator on financial matters.

He has been with Close Brothers Group PLC since February 2007 when he moved from a high-profile position as the head of National Australia Bank Operations.

He had been with National Australia Bank since 1997.

An online profile says Close Brothers "offers a range of business finance solutions including asset finance, invoice discounting and asset base lending which includes stock and property finance".

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