Man avoids driving ban despite his 14 pints and eight whiskies
A CONSTRUCTION worker employed on the new retail park being built in Fort William got to keep his driving licence, despite being found sleeping off a marathon drinking spree at the wheel of his van.
Aidan Maguire, of Taigh Easlinne, Kentallen, had appeared for trial at Fort William Sheriff Court on Tuesday after pleading not guilty to a charge of driving on June 25 this year, in Monzie Square, Fort William, with a breath alcohol reading of 121mg in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 22mg.
Building site supervisor Maguire had further denied driving a van which was unlicensed.
Sheriff Eilidh MacDonald heard how Maguire, 30, had consumed 14 pints and eight whiskies during a night out in the Volunteer Arms in Fort William on the night in question.
Giving evidence under questioning from his defence agent, Glasgow specialist road traffic solicitor Dominic Sellar, Maguire told the court he had intended taking a taxi back to his rented accommodation at Kentallen after the drinking session with a friend ended about 11pm.
Maguire, who readily admitted he had been very drunk, said there had been no taxis available and he had not had his mobile phone on him that night.
‘I then walked back to where I’d parked my van.
‘I was extremely tired as I’d worked four weeks straight and was pretty drunk, so just wanted to get my head down for a couple of hours,’ Maguire explained.
‘I then planned to go back to the taxi rank about 1am or 2am. But I went back to the van and passed out.’
Maguire confirmed he had been in the driver’s seat and had put the keys in the ignition out of habit.
He told the court he had not turned the engine over or even turned the keys a single click and had fallen asleep with the seat reclined. When police had found him a number of hours later, Maguire was breathalysed, arrested and taken to the police station.
But Maguire, who admitted there was nothing unusual in the amount of alcohol he had consumed for a night out, said under no circumstances would he have driven the van.
‘I have never driven before when I have been like that as I have no need to,’ he said. ‘I have five men all with full driving licences, so I have no need to be doing it – not when I am under the influence.’
After Mr Sellar had finished his questions, Procurator Fiscal Martina Eastwood conceded that the defence had successfully made its case that Maguire had no intention of driving and as such she accepted his plea of not guilty.
On the second charge, that of driving an unlicensed van, Maguire was fined £60 for what the sheriff accepted was an oversight.