Man drove through Larne while nearly five times legal limit

Court gavel
Court gavel

A man with one of the highest drink driving readings ever heard by a court in Northern Ireland had been detected after driving ‘erratically’ in Larne.

But the man, who claimed he had gone on a binge whilst staying at an hotel after an argument with his wife, could be off the road for as little as nine months.

Raimonds Martinovs (39), originally from Latvia but with an address at Mill Valley Place in the Ligoniel area of north Belfast, was detected almost five times the legal limit when caught at 11.20 on a Sunday morning driving a Jaguar vehicle at Circular Road in Larne.

A prosecutor told Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday that Martinovs had an alcohol reading of 166 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millimetres of breath. The legal limit is 35 micrograms per 100mls.

The I.T. engineer pleaded guilty to a charge of driving with excess alcohol in his breath relating to October 8 this year.

A prosecutor said police received a call from a member of the public who was behind Martinovs’ vehicle which was being driven erratically.

When PSNI officers spoke to the defendant his speech was slurred.

A defence lawyer said his client has been married for 14 years but after having an argument with his wife “moved out and went to stay at a hotel on the Thursday”.

He said Martinovs was drinking for several days and the detection was made at 11.20am the following Sunday when he was “returning to the family home where he is back living with his wife”.

The court heard the defendant recently had been given ten penalty points for being in charge of a vehicle with excess alcohol in a carpark.

The defence lawyer said Martinovs fully accepted the current matter from October 8 after having spent several days at an hotel.

The lawyer said driving is essential to his client’s job but said a driving ban was “something he is going to have to live with”.

District Judge Peter Magill said: “This is a very high reading and you have recently been before the court and received ten penalty points in relation to excess alcohol.”

Regarding the October 8 case he said: “You have pleaded guilty at the very first opportunity. I’m prepared to accept you were going through a difficult patch which hopefully is behind you.”

The judge warned the defendant: “If you take a drink don’t go near a car”.

Judge Magill banned Martinovs from driving for a year and after that the defendant will have to pass a test before getting back behind the wheel.

The defendant was also fined him £500.

The judge said Martinovs was suitable to take a course for drink drive offenders.

If completed successfully the rehabilitation course could reduce the defendant’s driving ban to nine months.