Garage boss loses driving ban appeal

First published in News by

A GARAGE boss seen drinking beer while sitting in his car in two Cirencester car parks has failed to get an 18 months driving ban reduced at an appeal court yesterday.

Marcus Williams, 44, of Stratton Mill, Cirencester, asked Gloucester Crown Court to cut the ban because of the difficulties it causes for his business and also for his wife, who is a midwife.

But Judge William Hart said the ban was justified because Mr Williams was almost twice over the drink-drive limit and also because of his particularly inappropriate behaviour' that night.

Mr Williams had pleaded guilty at Gloucester Magistrates court on January 21 to driving with excess alcohol in his breath on September 3 last year.

He had been fined £400 with £300 costs and disqualified for 18 months.

Prosecutor Rupert Lowe said a CCTV operator monitoring Cirencester at 7.30pm on September 3 saw Mr Williams sitting in his car at the old Station car park.

"He was in the driver's seat drinking from something and he appeared to be slightly drowsy," said Mr Lowe.

"He got out of the car to urinate and then drove out of the car park just before 8pm. At 8.08pm he re-appeared on the CCTV system less than a mile away at the Beeches Road car park.

"Police arrived there and found him sitting in the car. He was in the driver's seat with the keys in the ignition.

"They asked him to get out and they took his keys. He said he had just driven there.

"There was a three-quarters full can of Stella and 3 other unopened Stellas in the car. He failed a roadside breath test and was taken to the police station where he gave a reading of 68 micrograms.

"He said he'd had a beer at home, had gone into Cirencester and fancied another beer. He said he had not had a drink for a long time because of a medical problem.

"He said he quietly had a beer in the car park and then moved to the Beeches car park where he had another beer. He said he had not been planning to use the car again because he would have walked home to Stratton as he had done in the past when he had been drinking."

Simon Fitzpatrick, for Mr Williams, said he is in partnership in P&M Autos three miles from Cirencester and the ban makes it very difficult for the business to pick up vehicles and take them to the garage as they have in the past.

Williams was also often required to give his wife a lift in the middle of the night if she was called out on midwifery duties, he said.

Williams had a 'high level of remorse' for his offence and his own stepchildren had refused to speak to him for a time after his arrest, added Mr Fitzpatrick.

One of the stepchildren had been badly injured in a crash caused by a drink driver and they were all upset with him for committing the same offence, said Mr Fitzpatrick.

"He has not drunk since this incident," he said. "He is down for a rehab course in July and he has been cycling 80 miles a week and is very fit."

Dismissing the appeal, Judge Hart said "We consider this to be particularly inappropriate behaviour, driving around the town and drinking in the vehicle.

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