Defendant ‘believed he might be safe to drive’, court is told

An apprentice plumber who panicked and drove off on seeing police, lost his licence for 12 months at Magherafelt Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

Twenty-three-year-old Neil Jackson from Tulnacross Road, Cookstown, was also fined a total of £615 on charges of driving while having consumed excess alcohol, failing to stop for police, having no insurance, and possessing a quantity of cannabis.

The court heard at approximately 1.10am on March 18, 2020, police on patrol at Tulnacross Road came upon a car parked outside Orritor Primary School.

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Prosecuting counsel said it made off towards Orritor and accelerated away from police, who decided it was too dangerous to pursue the vehicle.

Checks showed it had no insurance in place and sometime later they saw the same car at Killycurragh Road and managed to get past it and cause it to stop, counsel said.

He said the defendant failed a preliminary breath test and a small quantity of cannabis was located in the driving door pocket.

Jackson was taken to Omagh custody suite, where he provided a specimen of breath showing a reading of 57mgs.

A defence solicitor said the insurance offence was an “afford ability issue.”

He said the defendant had been drinking earlier in the night and believed he might be safe to drive.

On seeing the police he panicked as he had cannabis in the car, he added.