A 66 year old Banbridge man caught sitting at the wheel of his car in an intoxicated state was not disqualified when he appeared before the local court last Thursday.
Dessie Ruddock from Hillhead Park was charged with being in charge of a vehicle with excess alcohol in his blood.
The court heard that after his wife passed away in 2010 from a long battle with cancer, Ruddock struggled with alcohol.
Since the offence he sought help with his addiction and on Thursday, District Judge Mr Copeland fined him £100 and imposed 10 penalty points.
Mr Copeland said, “Since 23 July, Mr Ruddock reached a significant crossroads in his life and this was characterised by a particularly low moment.
“Since then he has made a determined effort to address his problems and circumstances honestly with himself, with police and the community. Therefore in the interests of justice and fairness a disqualification should not be imposed.”
A prosecutor told the court how police had responded to a call about a man in distress at the Moss Road, Banbridge.
When they arrived ambulance staff were already with Ruddock who smelled strongly of intoxicating liquor.
He tried to start the vehicle but the keys were taken off him. He couldn’t stand up unassisted and an empty bottle of whiskey was found in the foot well.
Due to him being so unwell Ruddock was taken to hospital by ambulance. He lost consciousness in the ambulance due to his high blood pressure.
Barrister Mr O’Hare said his client was also taking medication at the time and this proved to be a “potent cocktail.”
“Since then he checked into St Luke’s to address his alcohol problem and also goes to AA. He was a man who was struggling greatly at the time. He was a hard working industrious man but has now retired through ill health.
“He uses the car to get about every day, to attend AA and visit his daughter. He is dealing with his problem and his licence assists him in doing that.”