19/05/2006

Former university vice-chancellor admits drink driving charge

The former vice-chancellor of the University of Ulster has today pleaded guilty to charges of drink-driving.

Professor Gerry McKenna, 52, did not appear at Coleraine Magistrates Court earlier today. His solicitor appeared on his behalf, confirming that he had admitted to the drink driving offence.

No sentence has been passed as yet and the court has refused to do so until Mr McKenna appears in person to be offered the chance to attend a drink driving rehabilitation course, which could reduce the sentence by around 25%. However, it is expected that he will face a driving ban.

The judge adjourned sentencing until next Wednesday and added that if Professor McKenna wished to have his sentence reduced, it would be in his best interests to appear before the court in person.

The drink driving charge was given in July 2005, when police stopped a car on the outskirts of Coleraine in County Derry, which Professor McKenna was driving.

Professor McKenna took early retirement in February after a lengthy court case in which the University of Ulster tried to evict him from his official residence.

(EF)

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