Police saw man stumble at his car

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When a drunken man stumbled at his vehicle in a car park he was spotted by an off-duty policeman, Banbridge Magistrates Court heard last Thursday.

Robert Peter James Bridgeman (41), Hillside Road, Ballinaskeagh, admitted being in charge of a vehicle with excess alcohol on January 20 this year.

He was fined £200, ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy and banned from driving for four months.

The court heard that at around midnight an off-duty police officer saw a man making his way towards a car in the Coach car park.

He noticed the defendant stumbling as he opened the driver’s door.

The engine was started but the officer stopped him from driving and called for assistance.

In the custody suite Bridgeman provided a sample of breath which gave a reading of 91. He had no previous convictions.

A solicitor for the defendant said he had been at home and his mother-in-law had called. She and his wife were watching the television so he went to a local pub where he watched football and had some drink.

He added that Bridgeman made an attempt to call and a taxi and then he was approached by the off-duty officer.

The solicitor said his client ran a recruitment business with two full time employees and his licence was essential to him.

District Judge, Mr Paul Copeland, said it was apparent from the court papers Bridgeman was heavily intoxicated and had no business going anywhere near his vehicle.

He added that if the officer had not intervened the defendant may well have set off on his journey to a further public house.

Later in the court bail of £500 was set for Bridgeman to appeal against the sentence and he was given leave to drive pending the appeal.