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Carl Millar recently read an article in the Manchester Evening News which relates to a pensioner who attacked a pub landlord before going on to drive his vehicle whilst having consumed alcohol above the prescribed limit.
CCTV footage reveals that the pensioner had driven his Mercedes into the wrong lane, veered into the opposite carriageway and ploughed into an oncoming car in an attempt to turn right. To make matters worse, Mr Mitchell then failed to stop and drove off before shunting another vehicle at a roundabout a short distance away.
Prior to driving his vehicle, Mr Mitchell had kicked out at a customer in the public house he was at and he also had attacked the pub landlord. The pub landlord pleaded with him not to drive his vehicle. Mr Mitchell does have a criminal record which stretches back over 50 years. He did plead guilty to the offences of driving with excess alcohol, assaulting a police officer, dangerous driving, driving without insurance, failing to stop and common assault. He has now been jailed for a total of 18 months, including 6 months for drink driving, and he has been disqualified from the road for a period of 4 years.
Judge Martin Rutland at Manchester Crown Court said that this case showed how the maximum sentences for drink driving offences were inadequate. He said it would be very much in the public interest if Mr Mitchell never drove again. The Judge said, “to have appeared before the Courts on a sixth occasion for excess alcohol once again highlights the inadequacy of the six months maximum for someone who just will not stop doing it. Every time you do it you run the risk of maiming and killing people”.
Mr Mitchell was actually twice over the legal limit. The legal limit is 35ųg in 100ml of breath. If this were Mr Mitchell’s first offence then he would only be looking at a period of disqualification of between 17-22 months. Any reading between 60-89ųg in 100ml of breath attracts this level of disqualification. Indeed, if his breath alcohol was at 70ųg in 100ml of breath, he may have only received a period of disqualification of 17 months. Furthermore, this would have been reduced by 25% (a period of nearly 12 months) if he was offered and successfully completed the drink drivers’ rehabilitation course. The problem for Mr Mitchell was that this was his sixth offence and there were also other aggravating features such as dangerous driving, assault, failing to stop and driving without a valid certificate of insurance.