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24/10/2021

Drink-driver had whiskey bottle in car

The 48-year-old was disqualified from driving for 12 months.

Drink-driver had whiskey bottle in car

A 48-year-old man has been disqualified from driving after pleading guilty to a number of drink-driving offences last year.

Pawel Stojanowski, of Piney Hill, Magherafelt, was charged in connection with two separate incidents on November 21, 2020 and December 16, 2020.

The court heard police had responded to reports of a vehicle driving erratically and colliding with the central reservation on the road between Randalstown and Toome.

Police located Stojanowski's vehicle two hours later on Aughrim Road, with the defendant sitting in the back seat, wearing an orange high-visibility vest and holding the car keys in his right hand.

Officers detected the smell of alcohol, noted Stojanowski's eyes were glazed. A half-empty bottle of whiskey was also located in the passenger footwell of the car.

When questioned by police, the defendant said his wife had been driving, and when police checks revealed this to be false, he said 'maybe a friend' had been driving the vehicle.

After being subject to a road side breath test, Stojanowski said he had not been drinking while driving the car, that he had had a drink after stopping the car, and that he had been fishing.

On December 16, police observed the defendant's car swerving from the kerb to the hard shoulder and braking unnecessarily on the Moneymore Road, Magherafelt.

After turning into Piney Hill, Magherafelt, police stopped the car and arrested Stojanowski again after smelling alcohol in the vehicle. He subsequently failed a breath test.

Defence for Stojanowski said he had been drinking at a friend's house and did not think the alcohol would have an effect on his driving.

Judge Mullan expressed concern that the defendant had been stopped for a similar offence within a month of the first incident occurring.

She disqualified Stojanowski from driving for a period of two years, fined him £200 for being in charge with excess alcohol in his breath and £200 for driving with excess alcohol in his breath.

A 12-month driving ban was also imposed for careless driving, alongside two offender's levies of £15 each.

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