Belfast Telegraph

Belfast drink driver claimed he was fleeing after attack

By Alan Erwin

A drink-driver crashed into other cars after fleeing from a beating, a Belfast court has heard.

Eamonn Martin O'Rawe said he had been dragged out of a wardrobe and assaulted by men wielding sticks before the collisions occurred in north Belfast.

Disqualifying the 28-year-old from driving for a year, on October 22, a judge described the circumstances as "most unusual".

O'Rawe, of Longlands Park in Newtownabbey, admitted driving with excess alcohol and careless driving.

He was arrested in the early hours of September 1 after his car collided with two parked vehicles on the Shore Road. Belfast Magistrates' Court heard he told police that he fled from a nearby property when fighting broke out.

Defence solicitor Pearse MacDermott said O'Rawe had consumed up to six tins of beer while at his girlfriend's flat.

A number of men then entered the apartment from a communal area.

"He hid in a wardrobe, but they pulled him out and beat him with sticks," Mr MacDermott submitted.

O'Rawe required hospital treatment due to the seriousness of his injuries, the court heard.

It was accepted, however, that he could not mount a defence of having driven under duress because of the distance he travelled.

District Judge Peter Magill remarked: "This is a most unusual case, quite out of the ordinary."

He noted that the owners of the damaged vehicles will be able to claim for repairs because O'Rawe had been insured. Imposing the 12-month driving ban, Mr Magill also fined him £200 for the driving offences.

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