Drive ban for man found sleeping in car

Ballymena Courthouse. INBT02-213AC
Ballymena Courthouse. INBT02-213AC

A man found by police to be over the limit and sleeping in the driver seat of a car with the key in the ignition in the grounds of Galgorm Resort & Spa after attending a wedding has been banned from driving for nine months and fined £300.

Charlie Fleming (39), a farmer of Carnaghliss Road, Nutt’s Corner, had the offence detected at 1.02am on November 6, Ballymena Magistrates Court was told.

A prosecutor said police received a report of an intoxicated male getting into an Audi and when officers arrived there was vomit on the door frame and ground.

He had an alcohol/breath reading of 93/35.

He told police he was at a wedding and his partner was the designated driver and that he had got into the car because he felt unwell and had no intention of driving.

Defence barrister Aaron Thompson said Fleming was now pleading guilty to being in charge with excess alcohol in his breath.

He said Fleming’s partner had taken him out to the car because they didn’t want the defendant “making an exhibition of himself at a wedding”.

She left him at the car as she returned inside to get her handbag with the intention of her driving them home.

However, Mr Thompson said the keys had been through a wash and would only open the door manually.

When that happened the alarm sounded which meant Fleming had to get into the driving seat to put the keys into the ignition to turn off the alarm and it was at that precise moment police arrived.

District Judge Peter King said no one with such an alcohol level should even have car keys in their possession never mind be in the front seat of a car.

He said Fleming should not have been left alone in the vehicle.

Bail on the sum of £250 was fixed for appeal.