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World Cup fever hits with a hat-trick of not-guilty verdicts

24 June 2014

A hat-trick of not-guilty verdicts for last Friday (20th June) as we won three drink-drive related trials in Magistrates’ Courts across the country.

Our first client appeared for trial at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court having been charged with being in charge of a motor vehicle whilst in excess of the prescribed limit (drunk in charge).

Despite a six month case, our issues remained the same for trial. The defendant was parked in a public house car park after the pub was no longer open to the public. As the car park was no longer open to the public, it cannot be said to be a public place, therefore it was private land.

The landlord of the public house was requested to attended in order to clarify the pubs opening hours.
There was also no likelihood of the defendant driving whilst over the limit as our client maintained he was merely sleeping off the alcohol. During the periods of time where the landlord left and returned to the scene, our client was asleep at all times.

Unfortunately, the landlord failed to show at court but our client was found NOT GUILTY as the prosecution failed to prove the public house car park was open to the public. Costs were awarded.

Our second client appeared for trial at Leamington Spa Magistrates’ Court charged with being in charge of a motor vehicle whilst in excess of the prescribed limit (drink-driving).

The Crown Prosecution Service failed to disclose evidence within 28 days of the first court hearing in March. Disclosure was not sent until Thursday 19th June, just 24 hours until the trial! No witness statement from the police officer completing the breath test was received along with no CCTV of the breath test procedure.

Our main issue was the accuracy of the police procedure. Once viewing the CCTV of the breath test procedure, Marcus Johnstone found a number of errors made by the police and once the case went to trial, our client was found NOT GUILTY. Costs were also awarded.

Our final client charged with failing to provide a specimen for analysis and failing to stop appeared at Romford Magistrates’ Court.

Our issue for trial was police failed to retain the mouth piece used during the breath test procedure.
Marcus Johnstone found more faults within the police officers evidence and made an application under s78 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 for the evidence to be excluded which was granted by the court. No evidence was offered leading to the police officer walking out of court!

As the evidence was deemed inadmissible a NOT GUILTY verdict was found. Costs were also awarded and our client was free to leave court with his licence intact.

7000 motorists were charged with drink-driving during the 2010 World Cup. If you are charged with drink-driving related offences during the 2014 World Cup you may assume that the police have the correct evidence. Think again. As a law firm specialising in drink-driving we constantly see poor evidence produced by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

Any drink-driving related offence is dealt with seriously by the courts. Punishments depend on your alcohol level but ranges from a minimum 12 month driving ban and ?ne, through to a community service order or even imprisonment of up to 6 months. It is vital that you do as much as possible to avoid a conviction.

You have nothing to lose, but everything to gain, by obtaining and thoroughly checking the
evidence and, of course, taking the correct legal advice.

If you have recently been charged with drink-driving or have any concerns with your own case, please contact Marcus Johnstone who will be pleased to discuss all the options open to you. Please call our office on 0151 422 8020 or call Marcus direct on 07810 804 464. An initial telephone conference is always free of charge.

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