Italian drunk driver refused ban deferment to get to airport

Laganside Court in Belfast
Paul Higgins

AN Italian man who pleaded guilty to drink driving on the M5 motorway was told he would have to find "other arrangements" to make a flight out of the country after an appeal to suspend his ban was refused by a judge.

Fulvia Valeria (35) appeared in Belfast Magistrates Court this morning (Saturday, September 3) where after pleading guilty, his lawyer asked for his disqualification to be deferred for 24 hours to allow him to return his hire car to Dublin.

His request was refused by District Judge George Conner who told him the ban was from "this day, this moment".

Earlier Valeria, an engineer from Via Coronata in Genova, pleaded guilty to a single count of drunk driving on the M5 motorway and Shore Road yesterday (September 2). 

A prosecuting lawyer described how a member of the public contacted police to report a car they had seen on the wrong side of the road with no headlights. 

Valeria was stopped by police on the Shore Road where he "appeared intoxicated with his eyes glazed". He went on to fail a preliminary breath test, later giving a reading of 57 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath - 22 milligrams over the limit. 

 His defence solicitor told the court Valeria had been at a friend's funeral, had taken a few drinks and was on his way to Dublin airport to catch his flight which had been scheduled to leave at 7am this morning.

"He didn't feel intoxicated at any stage and never intended to serve drunk," said the lawyer asking for any ban to be deferred for a day "just because he will have extreme difficulty in returning the hire car and getting to Dublin airport."

Having been informed that Valeria had no cash in his possession to pay any fine which would have been payable "forthwith", Judge Conner imposed a two year conditional discharge "so as not to impede his removal from NI" but added that "most importantly for him is that he will be disqualified from this moment."


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