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Reading Magistrates' Court: Newbury motorist who drank half bottle vodka avoids ban

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A MOTORIST caught behind the wheel after drinking half a bottle of vodka has avoided a driving ban.

There was no question that the 46-year-old was “very drunk”, Reading magistrates heard on Tuesday, January 4.

But they accepted Candice Chemaly’s account that she had drunk more than three times the legal limit only after pulling over on to a grass verge and not before.

Court (54260310)
Court (54260310)

Charlotte Webster, prosecuting, said police came across a Ford Fiesta with the lights on at 10pm in Stoney Lane, Newbury, and spoke to Ms Chemaly, who lives in Desborough Close, Newbury.

Ms Webster said: “Her speech was slurred and there was a strong smell of alcohol coming from the car.”

After failing a roadside breath test with a high alcohol reading, the court heard, Ms Chemaly was taken to a police station where she was required by law to provide two more breath specimens on a more accurate, toximeter machine.

The first reading showed 113mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath in her system – more than three times the legal limit of 35mcg.

However, said Ms Webster, when asked to provide the required second specimen, “the officer felt that Ms Chemaly wasn’t blowing hard enough”.

She added: “Eventually the procedure was terminated without it.”

Ms Chemaly was initially charged with failing to provide the required specimen on December 8 last year and pleaded not guilty.

However, that charge was withdrawn after she admitted being in charge of a vehicle after drinking more than the legal limit and this was accepted by the prosecution.

Ms Chemaly also has a previous conviction for drink driving, the court heard.

David Warburton, defending, pointed out that the drink-driving conviction was 20 years old.

He said: “She was going through some personal trauma at the time and accepts she got very drunk in the car.

“She pulled the car fully off the road and on to a grass verge.”

She then drank half a bottle of vodka, added Mr Warburton.

Mr Warburton told magistrates: “The defence accepts there was a high level of impairment – she was in a drunken state... crying and very emotional.”

Nevertheless, he said, Ms Chemaly would not have tried to drive the car again that evening.

He added: “She says she was going to make arrangements with her family to collect her but the police intervened before that could happen.”

Mr Warburton said Ms Chemaly had not deliberately failed to provide the requisite second breath specimen but had been “nervous, in an unfamiliar environment”.

He concluded by telling magistrates his client was “deeply remorseful” for what happened.

Magistrates fined Ms Chemaly £300.

In addition, she was ordered to pay £85 costs, plus a statutory victim services surcharge of £34.

Magistrates did not impose a driving ban, but added 10 penalty points to her licence.

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