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Motorist drops appeal over drink-driving conviction he claims was linked to vaping

By Nevin Farrell

Published 08/10/2016

Banned: Aaron Galbraith
Banned: Aaron Galbraith

A man who unsuccessfully tried to say vaping put him over the drink-drive limit has decided not to appeal after all.

Last month a court rejected what was believed to have been the first attempted defence of its kind in the UK - that alcohol in an e-cigarette caused a police breathalyser machine to show a man was almost twice the drink drive limit.

Aaron Galbraith, a 35-year-old chef from Dunluce Park in Ballymena, was instead convicted of drink-driving, which occurred as he left a friend home from the cinema.

It was his second drink-driving conviction, and he was banned from the road for three years and fined £300.

Outside court he said he was considering appealing the decision. His solicitor, Stewart Ballentine, returned to the same court later in September and lodged an appeal.

Mr Ballentine said on that occasion that "new scientific evidence" would be brought to the appeal. However, Galbraith has now accepted his fate. Mr Ballentine confirmed they decided not to go ahead with the appeal.

The case had been listed at the County Court in Coleraine where, in the wake of the development, the court formally ordered the appeal against the charge to be dismissed and the conviction and sentence affirmed.

After the September 1 case, puffing on his e-cigarette outside the courthouse gates, Galbraith said he would continue to vape rather than go back to smoking cigarettes.

Speaking to the Press, he claimed he had not been drinking on the date in question and that he consumes alcohol only four times a year. However, he claimed he had been vaping a short time before he underwent the breathalyser test.

Galbraith said that because he had a previous drink-driving offence from 10 years ago, it meant that he would not have got behind the wheel if he had been drinking.

His defence team brought in a scientist who claimed it was possible the contents of the e-cig put Galbraith over the limit.

But a judge ruled the possibility of e-cigarettes "causing anything of this nature is remote in the extreme". Galbraith said he was "shocked" at the outcome of the case.

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