Northern Ireland drink-driver with 10-year ban can't be stopped using mobility scooter
A court has been unable to prevent a Dungannon man from using a mobility scooter as part of a driving disqualification - because a licence is not required for the vehicle.
Eugene Charles Brennan, of Fairmount Park in the Co Tyrone town, admitted driving his mobility scooter whilst drunk on November 8 last year.
The 70-year-old was spotted by a police patrol carrying out duties in the George Street area of Dungannon on the evening in question.
Officers observed Brennan's demeanour while he driving the scooter on the road and he appeared to have poor control of the vehicle.
Out of concern for both his welfare and that of other road users, police approached Brennan.
He was noted to be displaying signs of intoxication and was arrested.
Whilst in custody Brennan provided a breath sample which returned a reading of 50mcg of alcohol, which was 15mcg in excess.
He admitted the offence and an additional count of resisting police was withdrawn.
Brennan was due to be sentenced at Dungannon Magistrates Court last week but failed to appear, resulting in a bench warrant being issued.
He presented himself to court yesterday, using his mobility scooter, and was permitted to remain outside the dock.
A defence solicitor said her client suffers from ill-health and is reliant on his mobility scooter, which is his only method of socialising.
District Judge John Meehan told the court that Brennan had a record of drink-driving.
"There is a 10-year disqualification on record after a long record of multiple episodes of drink-driving," he said.
The judge enquired if the court could impose a disqualification on using the mobility scooter, but whilst the prosecution said it was a mechanically propelled vehicle, it did not require a driving licence and therefore any ban would not be applicable.
"The court therefore cannot stop him from repeating his offending behaviour," Judge Meehan said.
Following the hearing, Brennan was issued with a fine and ban.
In total Brennan was fined £200 and disqualified driving any vehicle requiring a licence for five years.