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A 49-year-old man has been given a conditional discharge after being charged with breaking the 19th-century law of being drunk in charge of a horse.

Robert Milner was arrested after police received a complaint that a man’s car had been scratched in the car park of the Swan Hotel in South Milford, North Yorkshire.

York Magistrates Court heard how the officer attending suspected Milner was drunk while holding the reins to a horse and cart. He had been at the pub following a family christening and was giving children turns riding in the cart with him. Milner clipped another vehicle while riding around the premises.

Katy Varlow, prosecuting said: “A call came into a police officer at 7:50 pm after a man’s car had been scratched in a pub car park.

“The officer attended and the defendant couldn’t write down his address and was slurring his words.

“The defendant said he was not intoxicated, but declined when asked to give a sample of breath.

“He was taken to the police station while he got someone to pick up the horse in a trailer.”

At the time, the defendant claimed he wasn’t drunk and wasn’t breaking the ancient law, but on arrival at the police station admitted the charges and later pleaded guilty to being drunk in charge of a horse in a public place.

Milner, choosing to represent himself, told the court: “I had been at a christening and had gone to the pub.

“I was giving the kiddies a ride around the car park”

“All I had was four pints – I wasn’t staggering about.

“I wasn’t abusive and I kept calm when spoken to by the officer.”

Milner was last before the courts in 2012 over production of a Class B drug.

He also stated that he didn’t own a motor vehicle of any description and that his horse and cart was his primary mode of transport.

Senior Magistrate Margaret Scott told Milner: “You have kept out of trouble for some time.

“It would have been a fine for you today, but you have admitted guilt early.

“Next time, don’t have a few and then drive a horse and cart.”

He was also given a £20 surcharge and order to pay £85 court costs.

As he left the courtroom, Milner added: “I apologise to the court for wasting your time.”

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Freeman & Co. are a specialist firm of road traffic and criminal defence solicitors based in Manchester but with nationwide coverage.

Freeman & Co. specialise in a wide variety of road traffic cases, ranging from drink driving, speeding and mobile phone offences, to name but a few.

The firm was created by Nick Freeman, who has been dubbed “Mr Loophole” by the press for his technical legal ability and robustly challenging the prosecution.

Nick is well regarded as an expert road traffic lawyer and has successfully represented many high profile clients for a variety of motoring offences as well as criminal offences.

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