Drank a bottle of wine while in charge of car

A teacher from Martinstown has been banned from driving for six months and fined £450 after admitting a charge of being in charge of a vehicle with excess alcohol at the Tesco carpark at Larne Road Link in Ballymena.

Court sign

Sarah Gallagher (37), of Meadowbank, appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court in connection with the detection on February 20 this year.

She also admitted failing to provide a specimen of breath for a preliminary breath test.

A later sample gave a reading of 85, with the legal alcohol/breath limit being 35.

A prosecutor said police received a call about a car which had driven off and then returned. When police arrived the defendant was in the driver’s seat. She was unco-operative and refused to give a breath sample.

Defence solicitor Stewart Ballentine said the defendant produced a wine bottle which she admitted drinking and as such didn’t see any point in giving a sample.

Mr Ballentine said his client had gone to the shop to get a phone charger. He said she suffered bereavement in January and she had drank the bottle of wine in the carpark with the intention of leaving the car there to be collected by her partner.

District Judge Peter King said he had his “suspicions” regarding the case but he could only deal with the charge before him.

He noted when she did give a sample she was more than twice the drink limit and told Gallagher she should not have been near a car.