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Pensioner seen staggering on court CCTV was in charge of a car with excess alcohol

By Nevin Farrell

Published 22/11/2016

Winston Graham leaves Coleraine Magistrates Court yesterday
Winston Graham leaves Coleraine Magistrates Court yesterday

A pensioner spotted staggering into Coleraine courthouse has been back in the same building to admit being in charge of a car with excess alcohol.

Winston Graham (74), of Main Street in Mosside, turned up at the court on June 16 in possession of the keys to his vehicle.

Because of his condition security staff contacted police.

A prosecutor told Coleraine Magistrates Court yesterday that staff believed Graham had driven to the court and that he had approached the building via the adjacent car park.

Security camera footage of the car park did not show the defendant leaving a vehicle, but he could be seen "staggering about".

He had originally been charged with driving with excess alcohol which he denied and the case was listed as a contest.

However, yesterday he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of being in charge of a vehicle with excess alcohol on his breath.

The prosecutor said on June 16, police spoke to Graham and he admitted he owned the vehicle and had the keys in his possession.

The offence came to light at 10.30am and he was found to be over the drink-drive limit.

Defence solicitor Derwin Harvey said his client had been driven to the court in his vehicle by a friend and was dropped off at the front of the courthouse.

He said the alcohol reading was a result of drinking the day before and into the early hours of the day in question.

Mr Harvey said his client took the keys of the vehicle from the friend and on the basis of taking the keys he accepted he was in control of the vehicle.

It was not stated why Graham was at the courthouse on the day of the offence.

District Judge Liam McNally said: "You wonder why you would come to court at all in that condition."

Graham was banned from driving for four months and fined £250.

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