May 23 2013 Latest news:
Sunday, February 17, 2013
A DRINK-driver has been spared losing his licence after he convinced a court his orange juice had been spiked with vodka.
Samuel Beckett, of Lackford Place, Ravenswood, admitted drink-driving at a previous hearing before Ipswich magistrates.
The 21-year-old was more than twice the legal alcohol limit when he was stopped driving in a bus lane at 2.45am on December 1.
However, although Beckett did not deny he had 73 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – the legal limit is 35mcgs – he asked for a special reasons hearing to argue exceptional circumstances.
After magistrates accepted his evidence that his drinks were laced by his brother and friends, Beckett said his faith in the justice system had been restored.
Speaking outside court, Beckett said: “I feel relieved. I feel justice has been served.”
The court had earlier heard the former soldier would have lost his job and home if he had been disqualified from driving.
Prosecutor Alice Newton said police had seen Beckett’s VW Polo travel from Maryon Road, Ipswich, to Ravenswood Way where it cut through a bus lane.
When police stopped the vehicle Beckett’s speech was slurred, he smelled of alcohol and his eyes were glazed, the court heard.
Giving evidence Beckett said he had only consumed one can of lager after arriving at a friend’s house around 900 yards away from his home.
For the remaining five hours he was there he said he drank orange juice as he was feeling unwell.
Beckett said he was “gobsmacked” when he saw the results of the breath tests at Martlesham police investigation centre.
Beckett added: “When my brother picked me up we had a little conversation and he told me a few things. He was upset – more upset than I probably was.
“I believe what had happened is my brother, his friends, and my friends had spiked my drinks throughout the night with vodka.
“My sinuses were playing up. I could taste the orange juice, but it was not a strong taste like I would normally get.”
No other witness was called on Beckett’s behalf, as he said it could have cost his brother his job to come to court.
Beckett said: “We decided for the family’s sake it was better if I turned up here alone.”
Magistrates allowed Beckett to keep his licence, but ordered him to pay £360 in fines and costs. His driving licence was also endorsed with three penalty points.