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A 34-year-old accountant from Wilmslow who was due in court in Stockport on drink driving charges was caught drink driving again on the day of her appearance.

In April Paulina Gancarz was found slumped at the wheel of her car in a lay-by and found to be more than five times the legal drink driving limit and, on the day of her appearance at Stockport Magistrates court, crashed the same car outside Marks & Spencer in Wilmslow.

Tina Cunnane, prosecuting the offences which took place between April 14 and April 30, told the court: “The defendant was sat in the driver seat of her vehicle when she was stopped by the police. They asked her to participate in a roadside breath test, which she complied with and blew a reading of 182mg in 100ml of breath. They asked her to come to the station to provide another specimen but she refused so she was charged with failing to provide a specimen.

“The next offence occurred shortly after crashing her car, it was apparent she had been drinking alcohol. Security staff were made aware and contacted the police. On that occasion, she blew a reading of 109mg in 100ml of breath.”

The court heard that her offences were the result of resorting to alcohol following an acrimonious split with her husband two years previously, costing her £65,000 in legal fees, and difficulties with the attitude of her “traditional” mother following the split.

In the first instance, claimed Gancarz, she had no intention of driving the car but had decided to stay in the vehicle overnight to escape her mother and decided to have a bottle of wine. In the second, she said she had simply become “overwhelmed” by her situation.

A report from the probation service explained:

“Mrs Gancarz does have depression and anxiety, she is on medication for this.

“She went through a difficult divorce some two years ago, losing a lot of money, she lost two business and spent £65,000 on solicitor fees.

“She is working, albeit for a much lower salary, as an accounts assistant. On April 14 she had been having an issue with her mother who was over to help with her daughter, she was very depressed and she was not coping very well. Mrs Gancarz’s mother came to visit her from Poland.

“She was not happy with her situation and the fact she was looking after her daughter on her own following the divorce. She was coming to help her with the situation but they have a difficult relationship.

“She put a lot of pressure of her. Her parents are quite traditional. Things like when she was married, she was in a good position financially, they were more supportive yet when she was divorced the attitude of her parents changed a lot. She wasn’t coping very well.

“On the 14th she was going to go and buy a bottle of wine so that she could escape for a while. She parked in a lay-by in Wilmslow and there she said her intention was to drink the wine, sleep in her car and go home the next day.

“She didn’t know it was an offence to be drunk in her car – but she now admits it was very poor actions. She accepts she was running away from her issues rather than facing them.

“The second offence was two weeks later and she had started to attend Alcoholics Anonymous regarding her drinking. She had made appointments with her counsellor regarding her depression and her mental well being too.

“Her mother had gone back to Poland but her grandmother had come over who wasn’t very well so she was having to look after her and her daughter and hold down a full-time job. She then received a call from her counsellor who said she wasn’t able to accompany her to court.

“This added to her other issues and she became overwhelmed with the amount of responsibilities and her situation and she drove out at 7am to get a bottle of wine. She parked in the car park at Marks and Spencer’s. Staff called the police and by this point she was intoxicated. She drove off and as she was driving away, she hit a bollard.

“She admitted this again was poor decision making. She was overwhelmed by the build-up of everything. She works at a firm in Wilmslow and there is a possibility this could jeopardise her employment. She is remorseful and wants to get better for her seven-year-old daughter.”

Karen Rodes, speaking on behalf of Gancarz, said: “These are extremely serious offences but she has never appeared in front of the police or courts before. This was a very unfortunate series of circumstances. She is extremely remorseful and regrets that she finds herself in this position.

“She has been going through a difficult time and is finding it hard to cope. She has been coping on her own for just over two years. Over her divorce, her and her ex-husband, who is also an accountant, lost their business and lost a lot of money.

“Despite everything, that is what she wishes to continue doing. She feels this is something which will help her, she is going to meet with another counsellor. She wants that assistance. She is very vulnerable but she wants to work with probation.”

After pleading guilty to drink driving, Magistrates banned Gancarz from driving for three years and imposed a 12-month community order. She must also undertake 60 hours unpaid work, complete a drink drivers rehabilitation course, and pay £170 in costs.

LEARN MORE: If you would like to know more about our drink driving defence services and how Freeman & Co. can help your case, just click the link.


Drink Driving Former Nurse Banned After Crash

York Magistrates Court has heard that a former senior nurse who was caught drink driving at three times the legal limit was finding retirement difficult and took to drink as a means to cope.

Prosecuting, Simon Ostler told magistrates that Fiona Dewar, 56, crashed into the back of a parked vehicle at 5.20pm on February 15. She had to be helped out of her car by police officers and the ambulance service.

She was given a breathalyser test and found to have 268mcg alcohol per 100ml blood. The legal limit is 80mcg.

Speaking on behalf of Dewar, Liam Hassan said she had been suffering depression as she approached her retirement and, upon retirement from a very high-pressure and high-intensity job, had found herself at a loose end.

He added that losing her licence would cause problems with her significant family responsibilities.

District judge Adrian Lower remarked that he was now often seeing middle aged women caught drunk behind the wheel.

“Sadly I am often sentencing middle-aged ladies with otherwise blameless lives for drink driving where the reading is extremely high.”

“There is usually a reason why someone has drunk far too much and then got behind the wheel of a car.”

“I hope if there is any good to come out of this appalling situation it is that you recognise that drinking has become a problem for you and you have decided to do something about it.”

Dewar pleaded guilty to drink driving and was given a 12-month community order with a 10-day rehabilitation requirement and 200 hours unpaid work. She was also banned from driving for 26 months, ordered to pay £85 costs and a £85 statutory surcharge.

LEARN MORE: If you would like to know more about our drink driving defence services and how Freeman & Co. can help your case, just click the link.


Drug Driver Banned And Told “Sort Your Life Out”

A former drug addict who relapsed and was caught drug driving has been told “sort your life out” by magistrates in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire.

Making the case for the prosecution, Sian Vaughn told the court that Mark Briskham, 27, was stopped by police while riding his motorcycle on November 10.

“It was quite clear he was under the influence of drugs because of his erratic behaviour. He admitted he had taken cocaine,” she said.

Tests showed that Briskham had traces of cocaine and its metabolite – Benzoylecgonine – in his system.

Defending, Mike Kelleher explained that Briskham had been released from a lengthy prison sentence, but was clean of drugs and had been assisting in group sessions to warn youngsters of the dangers of falling into the same habits he had developed himself.

However during a particularly distressing time with his family, he had relapsed and taken cocaine with friends.

“That morning he did not think anything was amiss,” said Mr Kelleher.

“After the incident he contacted his doctor and was prescribed medication. He has now come off it and has not taken drugs since.”

He added: “This was a one-off brought about by very difficult circumstances and the night before.”

After pleading guilty to two charges of drug driving, the chairman told Briskham that cocaine was a “dangerous substance” and urged him to sort his life out. Briskham was banned from driving for 12 months, fined £120, ordered to pay £85 costs and a £30 surcharge.

LEARN MORE: If you would like to know more about our drug driving defence services and how Freeman & Co. can help your case, just click the link.


Drug Driving Teenager Risks Losing Apprenticeship Following Ban

A Swindon teenager wept as he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of drugs at almost four times the legal limit.

Pauline Lambert, prosecuting, said that 19-year-old Aiden Millin was stopped by police at around 2.20pm. “He’s stopped because he’s using what they have called a space saver tyre on the near rear side. The officer says he intends to give words of advice.

“The officer is greeted by a strong scent, which he recognises as cannabis.”

A roadside swab showed traced of cannabis in Millin’s system and later blood tests revealed traces of cocaine and cannabis, and 192mcg benzoylecgonine per litre of blood. The legal drug driving limit is 50mcg.

Ms Lambert said that an aggravating factor in sentencing should be that there were three other young people in the car when he was arrested and found to be over the limit.

Millen chose to represent himself in court and pleaded guilty to driving while over the prescribed limit for Benzoylecgonine – a by-product of cocaine use.

He continued to describe the night’s events to the court, saying “I went to the pub the night before, had a few drinks, had a bit of coke.”

He said that he left eleven hours between leaving the pub and getting in the car to drive. “I went to bed at 3.30am and probably had my last spliff at about 2am. I genuinely thought it wouldn’t be in my system.

“I’m not the type of person to go out drink driving or drug driving. I tried to make rules with myself the second I passed my test,” he said, adding that he had promised his father that he would not drink drive.

Breaking down in tears as he explained himself, he said: “I’m going to lose my job. I work out at Cirencester. This is going to have such a big effect on the rest of my life.”

“Ever since the event happened I’ve cut down on drinking. It’s really opened my eyes to it a lot.”

After pleading guilty to drug driving, Magistrates banned Millin from driving for 28 months, as well as issuing a community order for 100 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £85 costs and a £85 victim surcharge.

LEARN MORE: If you would like to know more about our drug driving defence services and how Freeman & Co. can help your case, just click the link.

About Freeman & Co.

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.

The firm of Freeman & Co. embodies the way Nick works, with minute attention to detail and challenging the prosecution at every turn.

If you are facing a road traffic matter or criminal offence and need the services of Freeman & Co. please call on 0161 236 7007.

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