Suffolk Magistrates have heard the cases of two men caught drug driving in separate incidents during the anti-drink and drug driving campaign in the county in December 2017.
Both men had previous convictions for drink driving or drug driving within the last ten years and faced an automatic three-year driving ban.
Colin Woodman, 30, was apprehended after police received a tip-off from a member of the public. Testing showed him to be 14 times the legal limit for the horse tranquiliser ketamine, with 276mcg of the drug per litre of blood. The legal limit is 20mcg.
He was last in court on drug driving charges in December 2011.
Woodman said: “I never intended to come back here.
“I had a problem with ketamine use, which I had taken care of, but I used it again on this occasion.
“I didn’t use it in an abusive way, or for an addiction, and I hadn’t taken drugs in three months, but I stayed at a friend’s house and took it the night before being stopped.
“I wish it hadn’t happened.
“I don’t think my driving was impaired at the time – or that I was stopped for that reason.
“I was surprised to find out I was that far over the limit, but the facts are the facts.”
The second case before Suffolk magistrates was that of Edmund Gilbert who was pulled over during the same campaign. He was found to be under the influence of cannabis with 7.8mcg D9-THC in his system against the legal limit of 2mcg. He was also caught in possession of eight grams of the drug.
Representing Gilbert, Claire Lockwood said that her client, a tree surgeon, used the drug to self-medicate his depression. He understood, however, that he had committed an offence.
Gilbert was last in court in 2016 where he received a ban for drink driving.
Both men pleaded guilty to drug driving charges and were banned from driving for 36 months.
Additionally, Woodman received a fine of £200 and was ordered to pay £85 costs and a £30 victim surcharge. Gilbert was fined £230 for drug driving, £50 for possession of the drug, and was also ordered to pay costs and the victim surcharge.
AND IN MOBILE PHONE NEWS
Jail For Mobile Phone Driver Following Fatality
A 42-year-old former HGV driver, who was sacked from his job because he was caught using his mobile phone while driving, now faces jail after being found guilty of killing a pedestrian because he was again distracted by his mobile phone.
Robert Morris, 57, was crossing the road after a few drinks in his local with his brothers when Steven Russell ploughed into him. He died three days later in hospital.
Prosecuting, Cathlyn Orchard told the court: “The defendant later told the police he had seen Mr Morris as he traversed the two lanes on the opposite carriageway and running on to the grass verge before crossing on to his side of the carriageway.
“The defendant could and should have taken action to avoid Mr Morris. The only explanation is that he was not paying attention, that he had been distracted in some way.”
Having seized Russell’s phone, detectives discovered messages indicating that the phone “had been active around the time of the accident”.
Russell collided with Mr Morris with such force that he was thrown into the air, landing behind the vehicle.
He was rushed to University Hospital with “multiple and severe injuries” after Russell stopped and dialled 999.
Miss Orchard said that a text message was sent from Russell’s mobile phone two minutes and 40 seconds before calling emergency services, and a response was received 36 seconds prior to the call.
During his police interview, Russell told officers that he did not use his phone to send messages while driving, but on this occasion had sent one while being stopped at a red light before putting his phone away.
“Are you forgetting the other time when you were using a phone at the wheel? Were you driving while filming?” said Miss Orchard.
“You were using a phone to record an accident, which you then loaded on to social media. You did this all the time while driving a lorry.”
Russell responded: “Do you seriously think I intended to do this? I had no intention of hitting that poor man and destroying two lives.
“I strongly resent it being suggested I hit that man deliberately. It was a freak accident. Two lives and two families were destroyed that night.”
The jury found Russell guilty of causing death by dangerous driving. Judge Andrew Lockhart remanded him in custody pending a sentencing hearing, indicating that he would be remaining in prison for some time.
AND IN DRINK DRIVING NEWS
Ban For Drink Driver After Wife Reports Him
A Yeovil man caught drink driving at twice the drink driving limit following an argument with his wife about her affair has been banned from driving for 20 months.
Maciej Zukowski, 24, went out for cigarettes and, despite having been drinking, decided to drive.
Several members of the public, including his wife, rang the police with concerns about his driving. Zukowski was spotted by officers on patrol in Yeovil who pulled him over and breathalysed him, having followed him for a few minutes.
Emma Lenanton, prosecuting, told Yeovil Magistrates court: “They had received information during the evening in relation to the manner of driving of that car which had caused a number of members of the public concern.
“They followed it along Wyndham Street, Sherborne Road and St Michaels Avenue and then lit their blue lights and it pulled over in Matthews Road.
“Zukowski was the driver and he smelt of alcohol so the police asked for a roadside breath test to be completed which he failed and was arrested.”
Subsequent tests showed him to have 84mcg alcohol per 100ml breath, more than twice the legal drink driving limit of 35mcg.
Zukowski, who chose to represent himself, explained that he had been going through a difficult time with his family and had also had a serious argument with his wife that night.
“I found out that she had been with my friend and that was why we argued, however, our son was asleep and I didn’t want to continue the argument with her and that’s why I was very upset,” he said.
“I didn’t have any cigarettes and so decided to go into town and get some and that was when my wife reported me to the police.”
“I felt alert and didn’t feel under the influence of alcohol, and if I had known I was drunk then I wouldn’t have got behind the wheel. I also had not eaten anything that day which may have led to the high reading.”
Zukowski pleaded guilty to drink driving and was banned from the roads for 20 months, fined £288 and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £30 victim surcharge.
AND IN MORE DRINK DRIVING NEWS
Jail For Jersey Drink Driver Who Didn’t Remember Driving
A Jersey Magistrate has jailed a 53-year-old man who had “the highest reading I have ever had to sentence on” after he was caught driving at five times the legal drink driving limit.
Gabriel Eugenio Clemente Estevas was so drunk he did not remember picking up a colleague at 7am or driving him around the town centre. He also injured a pedestrian after crashing into a barrier.
Lauren Hallem, prosecuting, explained that Estevas crashed the van into a barrier which was connected to another, which in turn shunted the pedestrian beside it. “The pedestrian did not fall over, but was in pain,” she said.
Estevas’s passenger got out the van to check on the pedestrian, but Estevas himself did not, and was seen slumped over the steering wheel. At this point, the pedestrian called the police.
As the police were called Estevas drove off, running through a red light, witnessed by an off-duty police officer. He was also seen starting and stopping the car and drifting between lanes, while his behaviour on a roundabout was described as “strange and unpredictable”.
A police sergeant finally arrested him after witnessing the van remain stationery through a full cycle of traffic lights from red to green and back again. The officer reached in through the window and took the keys.
Subsequent testing showed that Estevas had 175mcg alcohol per 100ml breath, where the legal limit is 35mcg. He also had a drink driving conviction from 2004 where he was found to have 133mcg alcohol per 100ml breath.
Assistant Magistrate Peter Harris said: “In my view, the question of public safety must take priority over personal circumstances. As this is his second band D offence [drink-driving] in four years, I cannot avoid a custodial sentence.
“I think it is safe to say that this is the highest reading I have ever had to sentence on and is exactly five times the legal limit.”
Estevas was jailed for nine months after pleading guilty to drink driving, careless driving, failing to stop and report an accident, and failing to comply with a traffic signal. He was also banned from the roads for 54 months and must retake his test before driving again.
About Carl Millar
Carl Millar is a highly respected and experienced drink driving solicitor who is the principal of Millars Solicitors.
Carl has been a specialist in road traffic law for many years and represents clients from all walks of life and all over the Country. He is well known for the dogged defending of his clients and robust cross examination of police officers and exert witnesses.
With a wealth of expertise in motoring law Carl is well placed to provide advice over the phone and deal with all road traffic matters in a calm and professional way.
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