Belfast Telegraph

Newry judge vows to double Christmas drink-drive bans

District Judge Eamonn King issued a public caution yesterday, saying that anyone caught behind the wheel under the influence over the festive period would face a 100% increase in their sentence when they appeared before him (stock photo)
District Judge Eamonn King issued a public caution yesterday, saying that anyone caught behind the wheel under the influence over the festive period would face a 100% increase in their sentence when they appeared before him (stock photo)

By Donal McMahon

A Newry magistrate has warned Christmas drink-drivers that he will double their sentence come the new year.

District Judge Eamonn King issued a public caution yesterday, saying that anyone caught behind the wheel under the influence over the festive period would face a 100% increase in their sentence when they appeared before him.

The stark warning came from the judge following the first defendant to come before him for drink-driving in the month of December at Newry Magistrates Court.

Terrance Maughan (29), of Cleenish Park, Enniskillen, was disqualified from driving for 12 months and fined £200 for driving with excess alcohol on September 27.

The court heard that the accused was stopped by the PSNI on the Castlewellan Road, Banbridge at over twice the legal limit.

A test recorded 73mgs of alcohol in 100mls of breath.

Maughan said he had taken a chance to drive after taking drinks at a family occasion.

Judge King vowed to take festive drink-drivers in Northern Ireland to task.

"This is the first drink-driving charge before me this morning and I want to put out a warning right now, to anybody detected of drink-driving from now to the end of the festive period, you can expect a £500 fine and a driving disqualification for two years," the magistrate said.

"Any one that takes the chance of drinking over the Christmas period and getting caught driving, come January, they cannot say they were not warned.

"The media is welcome to make headlines of this if they choose, to get this message across.

"Anyone who comes before me with a drink-driving charge, that disqualification (two years) will be imposed and they can't say they have not been warned."

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