Drink driver was reported by public

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After a tip off from the public about a suspected drunken driver police caught up with a 59-year-old man and when tested he was over twice the limit.

Rodney Thomas Sterritt, Castle Hill, Rathfriland, was fined £250 last Thursday at Banbridge Magistrates Court for excess alcohol in his breath.

He was also banned for 12 months and ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy.

The court heard that on December 6 last year police received reports from the public about a possible drunken driver in Rathfriland.

They saw a white van coming in the opposite direction from them on Newry Road. It swerved a couple of times as police followed. It stopped outside the home of the defendant and police smelled intoxicating liquor on his breath. An evidential test gave a reading of 85.

A solicitor representing Sterritt handed in a letter from his GP. He said that his client had lost his wife in 2014 and when struggling to cope with the bereavement turned to alcohol.

The solicitor explained that the defendant had been in Sister Concilio’s from Monday and would be there for 12 weeks. Sterritt would apologise for the incident.

District Judge, Mr Paul Copeland, said he was satisfied that normally the defendant was an ‘exemplary citizen’.

He added that he was impressed by what the doctor had said and the defendant’s voluntary admission to Sister Concilio’s.

The judge also certified him suitable for the drink driving course which, on completion, would reduce his ban by three months.