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Two men have appeared at Suffolk Magistrates court on separate charges of drug driving following the Christmas drink- and drug driving campaign in December last year.

30-year-old Colin Woodman was stopped after a concerned member of the public tipped off police. He tested positive for the horse tranquiliser ketamine in a roadside test and further testing showed him to be more than 14 times the legal limit, with 276mcg ketamine per litre of blood. The legal limit is 20mcg.

Woodman was convicted of drug driving in December 2011, and with this as his second offence within 10 years faced an automatic ban of at least three years.

Addressing the court, he said: “I never intended to come back here.

“I had a problem with ketamine use, which I had taken care of, but I used it again on this occasion.

“I didn’t use it in an abusive way, or for an addiction, and I hadn’t taken drugs in three months, but I stayed at a friend’s house and took it the night before being stopped.

“I wish it hadn’t happened.

“I don’t think my driving was impaired at the time – or that I was stopped for that reason.

“I was surprised to find out I was that far over the limit, but the facts are the facts.”

Following Woodman in the Dock was Edmund Gilbert, who was stopped with eight grammes of cannabis in his car as well as being found to be under the influence of the drug with 7.8mcg delta-9-THC in his blood where the legal limit is 2mcg.

During the same Christmas campaign, police pulled him over and smelled cannabis emanating from his car.

Claire Lockwood, acting for Gilbert, told the court that the tree surgeon used the drug to self-medicate for his depression, but also that he understood he was committing an offence. Gilbert too had a previous conviction for drink driving having been disqualified in 2016.

Both Woodman and Gilbert pleaded guilty to charges of drug driving and both were banned from the roads for 36 months for second offences.

In addition to the ban, Woodman was fined £200, ordered to pay £85 costs and a £30 victim surcharge. Gilbert was fined £230 for drug driving, £50 for possession of the drug, and ordered to pay costs and the 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.


Mobile Phone Driver Facing Jail After Fatal Collision

A 42-year-old man from the West Midlands is facing an indeterminate jail sentence after hitting a pedestrian, killing him, while distracted by his mobile phone.

Steven Russell ploughed into 57-year-old Robert Morris as he crossed the road following a drink in a nearby pub with his brothers. Mr Morris suffered catastrophic injuries and died in hospital three days later.

Cathlyn Orchard, prosecuting, said: “The defendant later told the police he had seen Mr Morris as he traversed the two lanes on the opposite carriageway and running on to the grass verge before crossing on to his side of the carriageway.

“The defendant could and should have taken action to avoid Mr Morris. The only explanation is that he was not paying attention, that he had been distracted in some way.”

Police later seized Russell’s phone, discovering deleted messages which indicated the phone “had been active around the time of the accident”.

Russell’s Jaguar hit Mr Morris in the nearside lane with such impact he was thrown into the air, landing behind the car.

The driver stopped and dialled 999, after which Mr Morris was rushed to University Hospital with “multiple and severe injuries”.

Miss Orchard told Warwick Crown Court that the call to 999 was made two minutes and 40 seconds after sending a text, and Russell had received a response 36 seconds prior to calling emergency services.

During interview Russell told officers that he did not send messages while driving, but admitted to sending one while waiting at a red light and that he had then put his phone down.

Russell had been sacked from his job as an HGV driver a few months previously after filming a crash on his mobile phone.

“Are you forgetting the other time when you were using a phone at the wheel? Were you driving while filming?” said Miss Orchard.

“You were using a phone to record an accident, which you then loaded on to social media. You did this all the time while driving a lorry.”

Russell told the jury: “Do you seriously think I intended to do this? I had no intention of hitting that poor man and destroying two lives.

“I strongly resent it being suggested I hit that man deliberately. It was a freak accident. Two lives and two families were destroyed that night.”

After seven hours of deliberation, the jury found Russell guilty of causing death by dangerous driving and he was remanded in custody. While the final sentence is yet to be determined, Judge Andrew Lockhart indicated that he would be jailed.

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.


Drink Driver Banned After Cheating Wife Reported Him

A 24-year-old man from Yeovil, Somerset, has been banned from the roads after being caught drink driving at twice the legal limit.

Maciej Zukowski had been arguing with his wife after discovering she had been having an affair with one of his friends. He had run out of cigarettes and, despite having been drinking, got in his car to go and get more.

Police received information from several members of the public with concerns about his driving, including his wife, and officers on patrol in Yeovil spotted him driving through the town. They followed Zukowski for a short while before pulling him over where he failed a roadside breath test.

Prosecuting, Emma Lenanton told Yeovil Magistrates court: “They had received information during the evening in relation to the manner of driving of that car which had caused a number of members of the public concern.

“They followed it along Wyndham Street, Sherborne Road and St Michaels Avenue and then lit their blue lights and it pulled over in Matthews Road.

“Zukowski was the driver and he smelt of alcohol so the police asked for a roadside breath test to be completed which he failed and was arrested.”

Following his breath test and subsequent arrest, further tests gave a reading of 84mcg alcohol per 100ml breath. The legal limit is 35mcg.

Representing himself, Zukowski explained that he had been going through a difficult time with his family as well as having had a serious argument with his wife on the night in question.

“I found out that she had been with my friend and that was why we argued, however our son was asleep and I didn’t want to continue the argument with her and that’s why I was very upset,” he said.

“I didn’t have any cigarettes and so decided to go into town and get some and that was when my wife reported me to the police.”

“I felt alert and didn’t feel under the influence of alcohol, and if I had known I was drunk then I wouldn’t have got behind the wheel. I also had not eaten anything that day which may have led to the high reading.”

After pleading guilty to drink driving, magistrates banned Zukowski from driving for 20 months, imposed a fine of £288, and ordered him to pay £85 costs and a £30 victim 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.


Driver Driver Jailed After Being Caught At Five Times Legal Limit

Jersey Magistrates have heard how a van driver was caught drink driving at more than five times the legal limit and was so drunk upon apprehension that he didn’t remember picking up a colleague at 7am and driving him around the town centre.

Gabriel Eugenio Clemente Estevas, 53, also injured a pedestrian before he was finally stopped.

Prosecuting, Lauren Hallam told the court that the van hit a barrier which was connected to another, which in turn was connected to a pedestrian. “The pedestrian did not fall over, but he was in pain,” said Miss Hallam.

She went on to add that the passenger in the van got out to check on the pedestrian, but the driver did not, and he was seen slumped over the steering wheel. At this point, the pedestrian contacted police.

At this point, continued Miss Hallam, Estevas drove off and went through a red light which was witnessed by an off-duty police officer, and the defendant was also seen stopping and starting, and drifting from one side of the road to the other. His actions at a roundabout were described as “strange and unpredictable”.

Estevas was finally arrested by a police sergeant who became concerned after seeing traffic lights run through their cycle, but the van did not pull away. The officer reached into the cab of the vehicle and took the keys.

Tests revealed that Estevas had 175mcg alcohol per 100ml breath. The legal limit is 35mcg. Estevas also had a conviction for drink driving from 2004 when he was caught with 133mcg alcohol per 100ml breath.

Assistant Magistrate Peter Harris said: “In my view, the question of public safety must take priority over personal circumstances. As this is his second band D offence [drink-driving] in four years, I cannot avoid a custodial sentence.”

Mr Harris added: “I think it is safe to say that this is the highest reading I have ever had to sentence on and is exactly five times the legal limit.”

Estevas pleaded guilty to drink driving, careless driving, failing to stop and report an accident, and failing to comply with a traffic light signal. He was jailed for nine months, banned for 54 months, and must retake his test before being allowed back on the roads.

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.

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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