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Community service for drink drive Pc

PUBLISHED: 12:33 20 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:33 03 March 2010

MAGISTRATES refused to put off sentencing a drink-driver Suffolk police sergeant despite an appeal from his solicitor.

Sgt Ian Abery was instead given 180-hours community service and a 30-month driving ban after pleading guilty to driving a police van when more than three times over the limit.

MAGISTRATES refused to put off sentencing a drink-driver Suffolk police sergeant despite an appeal from his solicitor.

Sgt Ian Abery was instead given 180-hours community service and a 30-month driving ban after pleading guilty to driving a police van when more than three times over the limit.

Neil Saunders, for Abery, said: "If you defer sentence today it gives the police pause for thought."

He said if magistrates waited for six months before sentencing the police would be able to assess 44-year-old Abery's progress.

Mr Saunders said: "In view of what he does over the next six months they (the police) may well allow him to continue to serve and he would be able to provide for his family.

"His future would be in his hands," he added.

The court heard that Abery, who is suspended from duty, had been receiving support following being caught drink driving on August 28.

Earlier the court had heard that if a community punishment order was imposed the sergeant would "be fired straight away".

However, Jane Evason, secretary of the Campaign Against Drink Driving, described the community punishment sentence as "ludicrous".

She said: "I feel so angry. He should have gone to jail for at least six months, but instead, the sentence is extremely lenient.

"We have got to make an example of these people. I know that not everybody goes to jail who drinks and drives, but he was three times the limit and should have had a custodial sentence.

"People see police officers as people they can look up to. If you see a policeman in the road, you slow down, and our children look up to them."

At yesterday's > hearing Ian Francis, prosecuting, outlined the facts of the case to the court.

Abery drove a police response vehicle to an emergency call on at about 3.20pm on August 28.

A colleague noticed Abery was driving in a great hurry and narrowly missed an accident on Civic Drive. He was also said to slurring his words and looking vacant.

His behaviour was reported to a senior officer at the police station and a breath test revealed Abery measured 121 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35mcgs.

Mr Saunders, in mitigation, told the court that Abery had suffered "stress upon stress" following an "horrendous" incident in 1992 – not disclosed in court.

"He did not recognise what was happening and the problems were swept under the carpet and he did not have help from other sources," said Mr Saunders.

He added that Abery, who has served in the force for 18-years, had been drinking heavily the night before the accident and had "topped up" at work.

In sentencing magistrates told Abery that if he completed a drink driver rehabilitation course his 30-month ban could be reduced by six months.

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