Belfast Telegraph

Drunken sailor sacked over failed breath test - captain handed four-month sentence

By Ashleigh McDonald

The captain of a merchant vessel has been sacked after he was found to be drunk in charge of a boat at Belfast Harbour, a court heard on Thursday.

Estonian man Juri Ting appeared at Belfast Magistrates' Court where he admitted a charge of 'excess alcohol by a master of a ship'.

The 50-year old - whose address was given an 'unknown, Estonia' - was handed a four-month prison sentence, which was suspended for two years - by District Judge Ken Nixon.

The court heard that at 6.40pm on Tuesday Belfast Harbour Police were tasked to the Harbour Estate following reports that the captain of a vessel was unfit to control the boat.

A representative from the Public Prosecution Service said that when harbour police attended, these suspicions were confirmed. Ting was arrested and taken to Musgrave Street police station, where he failed a breath test.

Defence counsel Sean O'Hare said that as a result, Ting has lost his job. Revealing that Ting came before the court with a clear criminal record, Mr O'Hare said his client had been employed in the shipping industry since 1990 and had worked his way up to the position of master - a post he has held for four years.

Mr O'Hare also said that when arrested, there was "no actual risk to the public," that Yuri was not loading or unloading, and that the vessel was not due to leave Belfast until Thursday. The barrister said that while Juri admitted he had been drinking, he had co-operated with police and admitted his responsibility.

Mr O'Hare concluded by saying Juri would now be returning to Estonia where "he will try and rebuild what is left of his life".

District Judge Ken Nixon said: "Taking account of all of the circumstances outlined, I am sentencing him to four months, which will be suspended for two years."

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