A MAN caught driving over the limit and without insurance hours before he was due to be sentenced for a previous offence has been jailed for five months.
Serial offender Michael Traynor, of Killeavey Road in Newry, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol, driving while disqualified, failing to stop for police, dangerous driving, driving without insurance and taking a vehicle without authority in relation to an incident on December 9 last year.
The defendant appeared before Newry Magistrates Court via videolink from Maghaberry Prison, where he has been on remand for the past 11 weeks.
The hearing was told the PSNI spotted a Ford Mondeo being driven erratically in the vicinity of Merchants Quay in Newry shortly after midnight on the date in question.
When police attempted to stop the car, it accelerated, reaching 60mph in a 30mph zone and overtaking other vehicles. It was later found abandoned.
Traynor was spotted a short distance away, with officers finding keys for a Mondeo on his person and noticing a strong smell of alcohol.
When he was arrested and tested, the defendant returned an alcohol reading almost three times the legal limit.
During a police interview, Traynor denied the charges and presented a prepared statement.
Defence solicitor Padraig Tierney accepted his client had a substantial relevant record, including a number of suspended sentences and a five-year driving disqualification.
"He had been with his partner. He took her vehicle without permission and foolishly drove around Newry," he added.
"He attempted to evade police and, on reflection, has now pleaded guilty."
Deputy District Judge Anne Marshall alluded to the timing of the latest offences.
"This is his fourth serious driving offence and fourth of no insurance," she said.
"Staggeringly, he committed these offences in the early hours of the morning that he was due back before court to be sentenced on relevant matters. It beggars belief. He has an atrocious relevant record."