The Magistrate's Blog (2005-2012)

This blog has migrated to www.magistratesblog.blogspot.co.uk This blog is anonymous, and Bystander's views are his and his alone. Where his views differ from the letter of the law, he will enforce the letter of the law because that is what he has sworn to do. If you think that you can identify a particular case from one of the posts you are wrong. Enough facts are changed to preserve the truth of the tale but to disguise its exact source.

My Photo
Location: Near London, United Kingdom

The blog is written by a retired JP, with over 30 years' experience on the Bench.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Gazza Hazza Problem

It is reported today that Paul Gascoigne, once one of the world's best footballers, has pleaded Not Guilty to drink-driving, and that the case has been put off for trial before magistrates (unless a DJ snaffles the case, as so often happens with celebs).
I have no knowledge of this particular case but it does illustrate the fact that with the consequences of a drink-drive conviction being so serious (and at the reading quoted in the report prison, as well as a very long driving ban has to be a possibility) many people who can afford it are prepared to pay many thousands of pounds to specialist lawyers to fight the case. In the normal run of things there are only two questions to consider: were you over the limit? - that will be settled by the reading from forensics or the intoximeter - and were you driving? - that will depend on evidence from police and other witnesses. The law on driving with excess alcohol is complex, and fertile ground for the Nick Freemans of this world to try to sow doubt in. There is the Cracknell v Willis defence of challenging the breath machine (not much help in a urine sample case though) and myriad technical issues.
I have seen offers of courses in motoring law for solicitors that make the point that this is one of the decreasing number of areas where the private individual is prepared to shell out hefty fees to try to stay on the road. Let's see how it goes.