A “successful businessman” led the police in a “chase” through the village of southern Armagh while he was drunk – Armagh I
The actions of a South Armagh man who has led police in a “chase” through a drunken South Armagh village will be fatal to his business, a court has heard.
Gary Blessing, 28, of Moninna Park in Camlough, appeared in Newry Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, charged with a litany of traffic violations, including dangerous driving; failure to provide a breath sample, multiple counts of not stopping, unfit driving and not staying.
“In terms of aggravating features,” District Judge Eamon King said, “he has it all.”
A prosecution lawyer told the court that around 3 a.m. on October 4 last year, police were called to Bessbrook, following a report from a man who damaged a fence before leaving.
Police were patrolling the area when they saw the vehicle matching the description approximately 30 minutes later.
They pulled up behind the van and motioned for the driver to stop, but he refused and took several sharp turns to prevent the police from passing.
A chase ensued before the van entered Church Hill in Bessbrook and passed an island of traffic on the wrong side of the road, greatly exceeding the speed limit of 30 mph.
Police turned off their blue lights and sirens and followed from a distance, as the vehicle drove through several back roads.
The van then collided with a hedge and police could hear a number of people exiting the vehicle before crossing a field where they got lost.
Police circled the area as the occupiers were heading and arrested two nearby suspects; one of the suspects – the defendant – was the registered owner of the vehicle. The two failed to provide breath tests after detecting alcohol in their breath at the scene.
Both were arrested and taken into custody where Blessing refused a probative sample. They were both questioned but declined to answer.
Blessing told police his vehicle was stolen, but declined to provide details despite numerous requests from him.
Police then reviewed CCTV footage of the area where the vehicle was first spotted and it shows the two suspects entering the vehicle through the driver’s door, with Mr Blessing entering last.
Before entering the vehicle, Blessing can be seen stumbling towards him and collapsing against the fence. The vehicle then started and returned, backing up into the wooden fence.
Defense lawyer Bobbie Rea said his client – who has a history of driving offenses – admitted it was a “most shameful and regrettable sequence of events” and that he assumed “full responsibility” for it.
In the four-and-a-half years since his previous breaches, Mr Rea said Blessing successfully ran an independent earthworks company, noting that one of his main contractors had offered a benchmark.
“It shows how important it is to this concern; how diligent and well regarded he is as a person and an employee, ”said Mr. Rea.
“The second reality is that the inevitable disqualification will now be fatal to this endeavor; there will be an impact, not only on him because of his stupidity, but he also has a partner whom he supports with a child, and a second child on the way, so that this family unit will also suffer from the inevitable disqualification .
He added: “[Blessing] was at a party… difficulties arose and while he originally intended to stay the night he left and unfortunately after panicking with the involvement of the police led to the sequence of events.
“Luckily, no other vehicle was affected and luckily no injuries were reported. He accepts and understands that it is luck that for any other reason.
King District Judge banned Blessing from driving for 15 months until tested and fined him a total of £ 650.
Most read today