A MAN with a previous drink-drive conviction escaped a three-year ban because the first offence had been committed in Northern Ireland.

The court legal adviser and the prosecutor were sent to the law books when the prospect of a three-year ban for a second offence committed in a 10-year period was raised.

Richard Prew, defending, said; “Two of the finest legal brains in the room have come to the conclusion the three year ban does not apply and that has come as a relief to my client.”

Charles Anthony Rooney, 37, of Somerset Grove, Church, pleaded guilty to driving with benzoylecgonine, the derivative of cocaine, in his system on the A55 at Bodelwyddan.

He was banned from driving for a year and fined £120 with £85 costs and £34 victim surcharge.

Andy Robinson, prosecuting, said Rooney had been stopped driving a van in North Wales and gave a positive drug test.

He said the previous conviction for drink-driving had been committed in Northern Ireland.

“Our research suggests it doesn’t qualify for a three-year ban because it was prosecuted under different legislation,” said Mr Robinson.

Mr Prew said Rooney worked as a plasterer and had been working on a job in North Wales.

He conceded he had used cocaine the previous evening and it was the metabolite that was still in his system.