Birthday boy is banned from driving

A young driver from Northern Ire­land has marked his 21st birthday in a less than ideal fashion – by being banned from the roads for 18 months.

Rory Barnes, of Slaughtmanus, Londonderry, admitted driving at more than four times the drink driving limit when he appeared from custody at Lerwick Sheriff Court yesterday.

He drove on the town’s Commer­cial Street in the early hours of 1st March with 92 microgrammes of alcohol in his breath. The legal limit is only 22 microgrammes.

On top of the hefty ban, honorary sheriff Arnold Duncan also fined Barnes £560.

“It’s an unfortunate way to spend your birthday,” he told Barnes. “However, you were four times over the permitted limit.”

Barnes landed in hot water when he went drinking in the town. When he later decided he wanted to go home to Aith, where he was staying at the time, he found taxis were charging “exorbitant prices”.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mac­Kenzie said Barnes had “quite a dramatic crash”. He was heard trying to reverse his car back over three bollards he had knocked down, and the police were called.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said Barnes had come to Shetland to take up work as a labourer, but had lost his job when the offence came to light.

“He has no good excuse for his driving,” Mr Allan said. “He was quoted an exorbitant fee for a taxi to get to Aith, and decided to take the car instead.”

Barnes, he said, had held a driving licence for two and a half to three years.

The honorary sheriff told Barnes it was fortunate that no other vehicle was involved, and that he was not seriously injured or worse.

Barnes can reduce his disqual­ification period by a quarter if he completes a drink driver’s rehab­ilitation course.


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