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Drink-driver escapes prison sentence

PUBLISHED: 08:11 19 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:35 03 March 2010

A DRINK-DRIVER who appeared in court for sentencing a year and a day after committing an offence has escaped jail.

Matthew Handebeaux > argued with a motorist following a minor crash near Ipswich railway station on March 17 last year.

A DRINK-DRIVER who appeared in court for sentencing a year and a day after committing an offence has escaped jail.

Matthew Handebeaux > argued with a motorist following a minor crash near Ipswich railway station on March 17 last year.

He was apprehended by officers from British Transport Police and tests later revealed he was more than twice the legal limit for alcohol.

Magistrates in Ipswich heard the case had taken so long to come to court because 42-year-old Handebeaux had forgotten the matter was pending.

Shortly after the incident he was sentenced for other unrelated charges and had incorrectly assumed the drink-driving matter had also been dealt with.

At South East Suffolk Magistrates Court yesterday > Handebeaux, of Marlow Road, Ipswich, was sentenced for the charge of driving with excess alcohol that he had pleaded guilty to last month.

Gareth Davies, prosecuting, said: "At about 8.20pm on Saturday March 17 last year an accident happened near Ipswich railway station involving a Ford Mondeo and a Ford van, the van being driven by Mr Handebeaux."

He went on to say Handebeaux confronted the driver of the Mondeo and pushed him in the chest before police intervened.

After being arrested he provided a urine sample to police which was examined and revealed he measured 279 microgrammes of alcohol in 108 millilitres of urine. The legal limit being 108mcgs.

Mr Davies added Handebeaux had a previous conviction for drink-driving.

Tanya Thomas, in mitigation, said her client had been drinking earlier on the day of the incident and later went to pick his brother up from the station.

She added he was likely to lose his job as a building site foreman if magistrates imposed a custodial sentence.

Magistrates sentenced him to an 18-month community rehabilitation order, a 120-hour community punishment order and a three-year driving ban. He was also ordered to pay £55 towards prosecution costs.


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