Man took van after July 12 house party ‘got out hand’

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A young man who drove off in a van during a house party which “got out of hand” in Draperstown, has appeared at Magherafelt Magistrates Court.

Eamon John McLaughlin (20), of Kevin Lynch Park, Dungiven, was fined a total of £500 with a £15 offender levy for taking the vehicle without the consent of the owner and having no insurance.

District Judge Oonagh Mullan remarked that the incident happened on July 12, 2016, and that she was “pleased to see” the defendant has not re-offended.

She also imposed six penalty points and gave McLaughlin 20 weeks to pay the fines.

Prosecuting counsel said police were notified that the van had been taken and the owner and friend had gone to look for it.

She said it was eventually located on a mountain road and the young male driver, McLaughlin, was accompanied by a female.

The barrister said the defendant admitted he should not have taken the vehicle and made a full admission to the police.

A defence solicitor said the defendant worked as a dry liner and pointed out that the offences happened when he was just 17.

She said he had made an error but had “grown up” since the incident and was now a much more responsible person.

The lawyer pointed out that the defendant had caring duties and needed his driving licence to take his father to various health appointments.