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Driving ban for man who swerved through Belfast streets on crystal meth 

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Paul Gill (60) was handed an 18 month driving ban.

Paul Gill (60) was handed an 18 month driving ban.

Paul Gill (60) was handed an 18 month driving ban.

A 60-year-old motorist who went through red lights and swerved between lanes of traffic in Belfast while on crystal meth has been banned from driving for 18 months.

Police had to deploy CS spray on former psychiatric nurse Paul Gill after his car came to a halt close to the city centre.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard he was suffering a "paranoid episode" due to the methamphetamines.

Gill, who is from England but with an address at Milebush Crescent in Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, pleaded guilty to driving when unfit through drink or drugs, dangerous driving, failing to stop and resisting police.

Prosecutors said police spotted his Audi A6 travelling erratically in the Grosvenor Road area on May 23 this year.

The car swerved between lanes and into oncoming traffic, going through two sets of red lights as it headed along the Falls Road towards the city centre.

At one point a U-turn manoeuvre was performed in the Castle Street area before the vehicle stopped.

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Officers at the scene were forced to use CS spray to ensure Gill was compliant.

Defence solicitor Joe McVeigh told the court his client worked in the caring profession, but had struggled with isolation and separation from his partner due to Covid restrictions.

"He had what can only be described as a paranoid episode due to using crystal meth," the lawyer said.

"He decided that he wanted to get himself arrested, but he didn't recognise the police uniforms.

"When arrested and taken into custody he didn't even think he was in a police station - he thought he was in a multi-storey car park."

Stressing that Gill was not a long-term crystal meth addict, Mr McVeigh added: "This has become a watershed moment in his life.

"The irony of the whole scenario is that he spent his life as a psychiatric nurse, and he identifies with the problems that need to be addressed."

With Gill having held a driving licence since 1977, District Judge Mark McGarrity was told he is "hugely embarrassed and remorseful" for his actions.

Citing the defendant's previous clear record and early admissions, Mr McGarrity imposed 18 months disqualification.

Gill was also ordered to pay a total of £350 in fines. ends


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