Belfast Telegraph

Ex-councillor apologises after being banned from roads for drink-driving

Resignation: Mark McKinty
Resignation: Mark McKinty

By Staff Reporter

A former Ulster Unionist Party councillor has apologised after pleading guilty to driving with excess alcohol in his breath.

Mark McKinty (31) had represented the Larne Lough electoral area on Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

The Ulster Unionist Party said on Wednesday the councillor had tendered his resignation.

Ballymena Magistrates Court heard the defendant, of Bankhall Road in Magheramorne, near Larne, had a previous drink-driving conviction from Laganside Court in Belfast in 2013.

At yesterday's court, the defendant was banned from driving for three-and-a-half years and fined £400.

After leaving court, the former councillor said: "Obviously there was a grave mistake made and I issued a heartfelt apology for that. I also resigned my position on the local council, which I felt was the right thing to do.

"All I can say is that I re-issue the apology with the utmost sincerity to residents and anyone who has felt let down."

Asked if he hoped to get back into politics again, he said: "That's yet to be seen."

A prosecutor said police on mobile patrol at 11pm on July 5 at Ballypollard Road, near Larne, saw a slow moving vehicle with its full beam lights on.

When they spoke to the defendant, his eyes were glazed, he was slow to respond, appeared to be confused and smelt of intoxicating liquor.

The defendant had an alcohol in breath reading of 118 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath - the legal limit is 35mcgs.

Defence barrister, Chris Sherrard, said the defendant was a single man who lived at home with his parents.

The barrister said his client has been travelling a "short distance" on the night in question from a friend's house and after taking drink, he had made the "very unwise" decision to drive home. Mr Sherrard said the defendant had been under "stress" at the time following the death of a family member.

Mr Sherrard said his client wished to apologise.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said he could take into account the guilty plea, but there were two significant aggravating factors - a "very high reading" and a previous appearance for a similar offence in 2013.

The judge said participation in the drink-driving course after the 2013 offence had not stopped him from reoffending.

Banning the defendant and fining him, the judge warned if he was in court a third time for drink-driving, he would run the risk of a custodial sentence.

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