Drink driver caught by off-duty officer

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A 53-year-old man who was caught drink driving by an off-duty police officer has been disqualified from driving for 18 months.

Patrick O’Neill, of Faughanview Park, Claudy, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol and dangerous driving on May 1.

Derry Magistrates Court heard the off-duty officer was driving on the Foreglen Road when O’Neill pulled out in front of him.

This caused the officer to break sharply and veer into the middle of the road to avoid a collision.

The court was told the officer flashed his lights at O’Neill and this ‘appeared to anger him’.

The 53-year-old began ‘break testing the officer’ who then swerved out past him and pulled into a lay by. O’Neill also stopped and approached the officer in an ‘aggressive manner’.

The off-duty officer called for other police when he noticed the smell of alcohol on O’Neill’s breath.

A breath test gave a reading of 128mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath, more than three times the legal limit.

Defence counsel Michael Doherty said his client accepts his behaviour on this night was ‘outrageous’.

District Judge Barney McElholm ordered O’Neill to complete 160 hours community service.

He said the reading of the breath test was ‘horrendous’ and disqualified the defendant for 18 months.