Drink-driver banned for ninth time

EIGHT times banned driver James Lewis is still on the streets today - after magistrates decided to give him one more chance when he was caught drink driving.

Helen Skene

EIGHT times banned driver James Lewis is still on the streets today - after magistrates decided to give him one more chance when he was caught drink driving.

Boozed up Lewis who was caught on his motorbike riding round the streets of Ipswich:

- Was more than twice the legal limit

- Was not wearing a crash helmet

- Had a pillion passenger riding with him

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- Got aggressive towards police officers once he had been pulled over

- Had been driving while disqualified

- Had no insurance and no MOT

Today The Evening Star tried to talk to Lewis about the sentence but he was not available.

However when his mother spoke to our reporter she was asked whether Lewis was remorseful about the amount of times he had been banned from driving. She answered: “Why should he feel any remorse? Everyone else does it.”

When he appeared at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court yesterday magistrates admitted the 24-year-old dad should be jailed for his litany of crimes, yet also said he would be given one more chance and suspended the sentence.

The news of the community sentence for Lewis comes after it was revealed in yesterday's Evening Star how crash victim Rob Gentry would be left out of pocket after an uninsured driver ploughed into him, leaving him badly injured.

And it highlights the importance of The Star's Christmas Name and Shame campaign which pledges to report on all those who flout the law by drinking and driving during the holiday season - and starts again on December 1.

The court heard how officers spotted Lewis of Carlton Road, Kelsale, near Saxmundham riding a motorbike along Grimwade Street in Ipswich and although his passenger was wearing a helmet, he was not.

Stephen Colman, prosecuting, said when he was arrested there was a small bottle of vodka on the ground which he admitted was his before becoming abusive to the police.

Tests revealed Lewis had 81 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 micrograms.

Lewis pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified, driving with excess alcohol, having no insurance and no MOT and to not wearing a crash helmet.

He also admitted the offences breached a conditional discharge imposed at an earlier hearing for disorderly behaviour.

John Hughes, mitigating, said Lewis had impulsively decided to travel to Ipswich to see his baby who was born in July but when he got to town decided his ex-girlfriend would not want to see him and went to see friends and got drunk.

Mr Hughes said Lewis now realised he would have to change his behaviour if he was going to be a good role model for his child.

Chairman of the bench Peter Page said: “You should be given prison today. There has to be a limit to how many times you can commit the same offence and walk away. We are going to give you just one last chance.”

Lewis was sentenced to 22 weeks in prison but the term was suspended for two years. He was placed on 18 months probation supervision and told to complete the substance abuse programme.

He was ordered to do 100 hours unpaid work and disqualified from driving for two years.

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