Drink-drive OAP's road ban is quashed

IPSWICH: Bungling lawyers have been left red faced after a pensioner who drove his mobility scooter while drunk was prosecuted for the wrong offence.

IPSWICH: Bungling lawyers have been left red faced after a pensioner who drove his mobility scooter while drunk was prosecuted for the wrong offence.

Disabled Thomas Clarke pleaded guilty to the incorrect charge of drink-driving after police arrested him in Kemball Street at 3.15pm on April 21.

The 70-year-old, who was spotted continuously falling from his scooter after guzzling large vodkas, was fined by magistrates and given ten penalty points last month.

However, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was forced to bring the matter back to court after an eagle-eyed solicitor read the story in The Evening Star.

Mike Kent, from law firm Gross and Curjel in Woodbridge, quickly realised the OAP had been convicted of a crime he could not legally commit.

The blunder meant retired Clarke, of Kemball Street, was forced to return to South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court where the original drink-drive conviction was quashed.

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He later admitted a lesser offence of being drunk in charge of a carriage.

Speaking afterwards, an exasperated Clarke said: “It must be a comedian who writes the scripts in this court.

“The wheels of justice have moved extremely slowly.”

Clarke's fine was reduced to �50 and the penalty points revoked.

Lesla Small, prosecuting, said the Road Traffic Act had been incorrectly employed to bring proceedings against Clarke - the CPS should have used the Licensing Act.

Mr Kent, who spotted the mistake, said: “It is particularly unfortunate that an elderly disabled man should be arrested by Suffolk police for an offence he couldn't legally commit and then subsequently prosecuted and fined for the same offence.”

Nobody from the CPS was available for comment.

What do you make of the mistake? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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