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A former international football player has been sentenced after being caught drink driving on St Patrick’s Day.

The 30-year-old footballer was handed a two-year community order at South Tyneside Magistrates Court, although he faced a possible custodial sentence with this being his second offence.

In 2015 his car collided with three cyclists who were on the pavement fixing a broken wheel.

The court heard that the defendant, whose contract with his current team was terminated following his charges, had used sleeping tablets and drunk vodka the night before the crash while he was on his way to training.

The former player knocked off a taxi’s wing mirror as well as crashing into parked cars in his Mercedes 4×4 and was later found to be three times the legal drink drive limit.

Defending his client, Henry Blackshaw said he had undergone counselling and had seen a psychiatrist.

Addressing the defendant, Judge Roger Elsey said: “You were clearly not in control of your vehicle and you put pedestrians and other drivers at risk of injury or worse.

“You have a number of significant psychological issues for which it now appears you are receiving appropriate treatment.

“The community is best protected if the causes of your binge drinking are removed and that requires extensive work with a number of agencies.”

Choosing not to jail the footballer for his drink driving charges, Judge Elsey made him the subject of a two-year community order, banned him from driving for 40 months, ordered him to pay one of the car owners £800 compensation, and pay a victim surcharge of £85.

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 Dad With Daughter In Vehicle Jailed

A man has appeared at Wigan Court House after being caught drink driving with his daughter in the passenger seat.

The 38-year old man’s part-time custody of his seven-year-old daughter, his job, and his home were now at risk because of his “stupid, split-second decision” to drive.

The defendant had a previous conviction for drink driving from 2007 at the time of his arrest was subject to a 16-week suspended prison sentence.

The prosecution said a police constable had been patrolling when a van passed his vehicle at speed.

“When the officer pulled over the van, it was discovered there was a young child in the front passenger seat.”

On being asked if he had been drinking, the defendant confirmed that he had done 45 minutes earlier.

The driver then asked if he could first put his daughter to bed, as the situation was upsetting her. The officer replied that she would be looked after.

He gave a positive result on a roadside breath test and later tests showed him to have 65mcg alcohol per 100ml breath. Almost twice the legal limit of 35mcg.

During an interview, he said he had been watching football at a friend’s house where he drank five double brandies.

The court was then told that the defendant realised he did not have enough cash on him to afford a taxi and his friend offered him his van to get home.

The driver’s solicitor said that her client had made full and frank admissions to his guilt and, following some minor issues with his arresting officer, had co-operated fully with police.

She added that he knew he was not able to drive but had made a “stupid, split-second decision” to do so on that night.

“In the cold light of day he knows that he had money at home so he could have called a taxi and paid for it that way, and he would not have been before these courts,” she said.

“He is a gentleman who faces a lot to lose. He has part-time custody of his seven-year-old daughter and he has his own address and is in employment.”

After pleading guilty to drink driving, magistrates sentenced the man to 28 weeks in prison and banned him from driving for three years and 14 weeks.

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 Jailed For Causing Death By Careless Driving

A 37-year-old man has been jailed for 42 months at Portsmouth Crown Court after killing a woman while drug driving over the legal limit for cannabis.

He lost control of his vehicle as he was overtaking other vehicles on a bend, colliding with a car driven by a husband and wife, along with a close friend in the rear passenger seat.

Emergency services were called to the scene of the accident, but the passenger in the rear of the vehicle later died of her injuries.

The driver, who had only been driving for 12 months, was tested for drugs and found to be 0.3mcg over the legal limit for cannabis.

The prosecution told the court that other drivers who witnessed the crash said that the defendant had been seen overtaking on the national speed limit road before losing control as he carried out the manoeuvre on a bend.

“The vehicle swerved off diagonally into the other side of the road,” said one witness.

Victim impact statements from the passenger’s son and from the wife who was sitting in the front.

The boy, who lost his father in 2015 said: “Losing my mum was like losing my best friend, […] I struggle to deal with living my life without my parents around.”

“I am extremely grateful for my friends and family for supporting me through this, but it does not change the fact I lost my mum.”

The victim’s friend said she was “a delight to have around and from the very first week she joined us every weekend for a trip out somewhere. She became part of our family.”

Judge Hetherington addressed the defendant, saying: “It has of course brought devastation in the family and close friends of the deceased.

“I don’t overlook that your life and that of your family has been permanently and substantially changed by these events and its aftermath.”

Mitigating for the driver, Paul Walker said: “This is a difficult exercise for everyone involved in this case.

“One family who sits in this court have lost a family member and another family who sits in this court are going to have a loved one sent to prison.”

He went on to add that his client had not been in a car or used cannabis since October last year, and had been working with mental health services. He had been diagnosed with PTSD and had been using cannabis to cope with the death of his grandfather.

Road safety officer PC Dave Mitchell, from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “There was no need for [the defendant] to overtake those vehicles that day, he was simply being impatient and that has resulted in the death of [the victim], leaving her loved ones devastated.
“[He] not only drove carelessly, he did so after taking cannabis, ignoring all the warnings.

“Cannabis can severely impact someone’s ability to drive, such as distorting the driver’s perception of space and time.

“In this case [he] attempted to overtake as he approached a bend, where there was insufficient space and time to do so safely.

“Had [he] decided not to take cannabis prior to driving, and had he not made a reckless overtake, then this collision and its tragic consequences would not have happened.”

The man pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving while over the prescribed limit for cannabis and was sentenced to 42 months in prison. He was also banned from driving for 57 months and must pay a 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.


Lorry Driver And Cricketer Using Mobile Phone While Driving Both Banned And Fined

A 48-year-old lorry driver has appeared at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates Court on charges of driving while using a mobile phone.

He was seen driving his lorry on the A444 near Swadlincote on September 28 while using the device.

The driver, from North Yorkshire, was fined £440, ordered to pay £620 court costs and a £44 victim surcharge. He also received six points on his license.

Meanwhile, a county cricketer has been hauled in front of magistrates at Aldershot on the same charge.

The 24-year old was seen driving his Jaguar while using his phone on the same day in September as the lorry driver.

The cricketer pleaded guilty to using his mobile phone while driving and was fined £660 as well as a total of £131 in charges. As this was a second offence he received an automatic 6-month ban from the roads.

A clampdown in Bournemouth has seen penalty notices handed out to dozens of drivers caught using their mobile phones, eating, and even doing makeup at the wheel.

Sergeant Mark Farrow of the Dorset Police No Excuse team said: “As an officer who deals with the often tragic aftermath when a driver is distracted at the wheel, I would like to make a personal plea to the driving public to think about their actions.

“You may think liking your friend’s Instagram post or Snapchatting your drive home is the most important thing at the time, but this is wrong and your life and those of others should be the priority.

“Nothing is more important than your safety and the safety of other road users and, while you think you can get away with it, it is vital that drivers realise they could kill someone.

“We are urging drivers to take responsibility for their actions and leave their phone alone.”

LEARN MORE: If you would like to know more about our mobile phone 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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