Sat, 30 May 2015
AN “arrogant and unreasonable” army captain who refused to provide a breath test at Newbury police station has been banned from driving.
Capt Joseph Walker-Cousins, who was stabilisation adviser to the UK’s special envoy in Benghazi from 2011 to 2012 and head of the British Embassy Office in Benghazi from 2012-2014, was stopped after driving across two lanes of the M4 on March 25, Newbury magistrates heard.
Felicity Lineham, prosecuting on Thursday, May 21, said that the 36-year-old was pulled over after another motorist, shocked by the standard of his driving, called the police.
She said police officers had to “pull right up beside him with their lights on”, as Capt Walker-Cousins appeared not to notice them.
She added: “Upon his exiting the car officers noted that his eyes were glazed and he smelled strongly of liquor.”
When he arrived at Newbury police station, the court heard, he became “unreasonable and obnoxious”, refusing to get out of the police car or provide a sample of breath and demanding to speak to his wife and to his lawyer.
Capt Walker-Cousins admitted failing to provide a specimen for analysis.
Mike Davis, defending, said that Capt Walker-Cousins had been drinking with a friend in London and had intended to take the train home to Bristol, but instead made the “extremely stupid decision” to drive.
He added that Capt Walker-Cousins wrongly thought he was entitled to speak to a lawyer before providing a sample of breath, prompting him to “refuse, point blank, to comply with police”.
Mr Davis added: “He does not recall being difficult when pulled over, but has admitted he is ashamed by his arrogant behaviour at Newbury police station.
“After speaking to a lawyer some time later, he agreed to give a sample of breath, but was told by police that it was too late.”
Giving a character reference to the court, Major Alex John Finnen MBE, Intelligence Corps Army Reserve stationed at Denison Barracks in Hermitage, told the hearing that Capt Walker-Cousins was due to be promoted this year but that “would definitely not be happening” as a result of his actions.
He added: “It could have a serious impact on his career and lead to demotion in rank.
“It will certainly lead to the removal of seniority. He was due to be promoted this year. That now will definitely not happen for a many number of years.”
He added that the court’s decision would reflect the sanction imposed on the captain.
However, after retiring to confer, magistrates disqualified him from driving for 18 months.
He was also fined £1,200 and ordered to pay £120 costs plus a statutory surcharge of £85.