The career of a locum pharmacist is on the line after being caught driving nearly three times the limit at Gateshead.
Michael McGinty, 55, must notify his professional regulatory body of his conviction within seven days – and he could lose his work permit.
McGinty, of Fairmount Terrace, Perth, Scotland, turned to alcohol to help her cope with her father’s death, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court has learned.
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His marriage also fell apart, leaving him unable over the past 18 months to see his two school-aged children who live in Ireland.
He was arrested by police while driving his Jaguar car on the A1 southbound in Team Valley on Sunday August 1. A breathalyzer showed 99 mcg of alcohol in 100 ml of breath, against a legal limit of 35 mcg.
Her lawyer, Janice Hall, said McGinty was deeply remorseful of her offense – and exposed the risks to her job. She said: “He has seven days to inform the General Pharmaceutical Council of his conviction.
“This may include writing off a financial penalty for monitoring.
“He is clearly a man who very much regrets this case. I don’t think he is a man who will appear in this court again.
“There is a significant manifestation of remorse on his part. He has completely stopped drinking since the commission of this offense.
Ms Hall added: “There has been a very difficult divorce. His wife moved with their two children to Ireland.
“He hasn’t seen his sons for 18 months. This causes a major upheaval.
“There is mourning for his father, and his mother must also accept it.
“This is what led to a drink situation.
“He has worked as a substitute in various locations and this conviction will have a significant impact. “
McGinty, who has good character, has pleaded guilty to driving while drinking.
Associate District Judge Gary Garland said he accepted McGinty was a hired professional.
And he admitted that McGinty’s personal issues had gotten the better of him, causing him to seek solace in alcohol “every now and then.”
He also expressed the hope not to lose his professional license.
But he added: “That said, you’d have to live on the moon not to know that drunk driving doesn’t go hand in hand.
“You shouldn’t have been driving with alcohol in your body. It’s not far from three times the limit.
“On this particular occasion, it’s a bit of an aberration. I have no doubts that this will never happen again.
“It’s an offense that worries a lot of people, but you are not enemy number one.
“I don’t think you have any drinking problem.
Judge Garland banned McGinty from driving for two years and fined him £ 500, along with £ 85 in court costs and a victim fine surcharge of £ 50.
He offered him the opportunity to take a drunk driver rehabilitation course, which reduces a disqualification by a quarter if successful.
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