Colne drink-driver caught by police for second time

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A CARER caught almost three times the legal alcohol limit had driven his paralysed wife to a doctor’s surgery, a court was told.

Pennine magistrates heard how Miroslaw Matoga had the stroke victim beside him in the passenger seat as he went the wrong way down a one way street in Nelson. The second-time drink-driver was stopped by police after he had got behind the wheel for the early afternoon, non-emergency appointment at a local medical centre.

Matoga was arrested and gave a test which revealed 103 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath - the legal limit is 35. The defendant (37), a Polish national, of Rimington Avenue, Colne, admitted driving with excess alcohol on Wellington Street, Nelson, on July 6th.

Matoga, who receives carer’s allowance and income support, was fined £125, with a £15 victim surcharge. He was banned for the mandatory three years as he has now flouted the drink drive laws twice in the last 10 years.

Mrs Joanne Close (prosecuting) said at 12-45pm, police received information about a possible drink driver, stopped Matoga and his breath smelled of drink.

He gave a positive roadside breath test and was arrested and taken to the police station. At 1-41pm, he gave a breath test showing 103 micrograms.

Mrs Close said the defendant had a previous conviction for excess alcohol from December, 2006, when his sample reading had been 64 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The prosecutor added: “The recent offence is aggravated by the high reading and the previous similar offence.”

Miss Janet Sime, for Matoga, who had the case translated for him by an interpreter, said he had a great deal of responsibility and problems to cope with.

His wife, although only a young woman, had suffered a severe stroke, which had left her paralysed down one side. The defendant was her only carer. The medical appointment had been overlooked, Matoga then realised they had to be at the doctor’s for a certain time, thought there wasn’t time to wait for a taxi and he took her in the vehicle. The solicitor said: “It wasn’t an emergency appointment. He could have rung the doctor and waited for a taxi.”

Miss Sime told the hearing: “He and his partner will suffer terribly by the removal of his driving licence because, of course, she is disabled and his vehicle and his driving skills are needed to get her to the doctor’s, hospital appointments and every other task he has to undertake.”

The solicitor urged the court not to impose a community order, as, she said, the defendant had “a lot to cope with”, an order would exacerbate that and there were language barriers as well.