Belfast Telegraph

Accountant seen drinking in car is refused bail 'in case he kills someone while driving'

By George Jackson

A semi-retired, self-employed accountant was remanded in custody yesterday charged with drink-driving, driving without insurance and driving while disqualified.

Michael Sean Archer (63), from Dunlade Road in Greysteel admitted committing the offences at the Crescent Link Retail Park car park in the Waterside area of Londonderry on Sunday afternoon.

Archer, who is responsible for the payrolls of client companies in England, appeared at the magistrates court in the city yesterday.

A police officer told District Judge Nigel Broderick that on Sunday afternoon a woman driver reported to police that a 730 series BMW car driven by the defendant had struck a kerb in the car park before he tried several times to park the vehicle in a parking bay.

She told the police the defendant then got out of his car and swayed as he walked a short distance before getting back into the vehicle.

He then pulled up alongside her, drank from a box of wine and drove off.

The police traced the car to the defendant's home address and after they arrested him he was breathalysed, giving a reading of just under three times the legal limit.

Opposing bail, the police officer told the court it was the third time in the last two years the defendant had been caught drink-driving and that in July of last year he had been disqualified from driving for two years.

Applying for bail, a defence solicitor said his client had relapsed into alcoholism and that up until last Sunday he had been attending AA meetings.

"Most of his professional clients are in England and he is personally responsible for company payroll duties.

"If he is remanded in custody they might well not get paid their wages.

"He is willing to abide by any bail conditions put in place by the court and he has put his car up for sale.

"There is no doubt he faces a lengthy driving disqualification period but if he is remanded in custody his accountancy business faces going to the wall", the solicitor said.

"He is willing to sign on at any police station every day, he is willing to be preliminary breath-tested and is willing to stay out of all licensed premises and out of off-licences. He is aware he has issues to resolve and, as well as that, he's currently going through treatment for prostate cancer," he added.

However, the District Judge said that given the defendant's recent drink-driving convictions, there was no alternative but custody.

"If I admit him to bail he could go back into another vehicle and God forbid he could kill somebody while driving a car and I am not prepared to take that chance," Mr Broderick said.

Bail was refused and the defendant was remanded in custody until he's sentenced on July 6 following the preparation of a pre-sentence report.

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