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Drink-driver claimed his orange juice was 'spiked'

Thatcham motorist will plead 'special reasons' to avoid 12 month driving ban

John Garvey

John Garvey


01635 886628

A THATCHAM man caught drink-driving has claimed his drinks were spiked.

Tests showed Graham Escott, who lives in the High Street, had 65mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath in his system. The legal limit is 35mcg.

At Reading Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, June 22, the 57-year-old’s solicitor, Andrew Storch, told magistrates that his client had already admitted driving on the M27 at Eastleigh, Hampshire, on September 10 last year, during a previous court hearing in Portsmouth.

But he said Mr Escott would contest the usually mandatory driving ban of a minimum of 12 months by arguing “special reasons”.

In certain circumstances, defendants convicted of drink-driving offences may be able to have any mandatory period of driving disqualification significantly reduced or totally avoided.

Mr Storch explained: “Mr Escott didn’t realise that what he was drinking was, in fact, alcohol.

“There is an alleged admission that he told police ‘I knew I shouldn’t have been driving’, but it’s not clear what that means.”

He said the defence would call an expert witness to give evidence that “if he was only drinking what he thought he was drinking, he wouldn’t have been over the limit”.

Mr Storch claimed that “the prosecution accepts the maths involved but not the premise on which they are based”.

Joanna McGlew, prosecuting, said: “The crown’s case is that the defendant made admissions at the roadside.

“The defence’s expert report is based on assumptions and no details have been provided about the size of the glasses from which drinks were consumed.

“We don’t accept it.”

The court heard that the case would largely be decided on Mr Escott’s character and credibility.

Mr Storch said his client had been unable to attend that day’s hearing because his leg had been crushed in a work-related accident.

The court adjourned sentencing until October 2 when the ‘special reasons’ argument will be tested.

Mr Escott was meanwhile given unconditional bail.

Mr Storch added: “The special reasons argument will involve laced drinks.”

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