Alcoholic ‘shouldn’t be behind the wheel of a car’ - says judge

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A judge has said a chronic alcoholic who is accused of drink driving ‘should not be behind the wheel of a car’.

District Judge Barney McElholm made the comment as 51-year-old Martin Feeney appeared at the local magistrates court.

Feeney, of Malvern Terrace, is charged with driving with excess alcohol, driving whilst disqualified, taking a car without authority and having no insurance on July 25.

Derry Magistrates Court heard claims that Feeney took his ex brother-in-law’s car from a local mechanic’s and drove it while drunk.

A defence solicitor told the court Feeney has had problems with alcohol for a number of years, but if the court were minded to grant him bail he would take steps to address his addiction.

District Judge Barney McElholm said he has been a judge in this city for almost 13 years and “I have been hearing that about this man for as long as I can remember. He just doesn’t do anything about his drinking”.

He added: “This is one person who shouldn’t be behind the wheel of a car. He is a complete danger on the roads, because he gets completely hopelessly drunk and is at risk of causing fatal damage to members of the public”.

Bail was refused for fear of further offences and Feeney will appear in court on August 22.