Drink-driver headed to pub after crash

Burnley Magistrates Court.
Burnley Magistrates Court.
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A drink-driver who made headlines for having a four-year-old sitting on his knee has been back in court for excess alcohol – this time after “turning over” a car with his young son in it.

Brett Duffy (35) was found to be almost twice the legal alcohol limit after police went to reports of the 8-45pm accident. After the smash, Duffy had gone to a nearby pub with the boy and ordered a pint. He was to initially claim the lager had put him over the limit when he was breath tested, Burnley magistrates heard.

Duffy was recently in the news after the same court had been told he was caught almost three times the limit, on May 13th, when police spotted he had a small child on his knee. The unrestrained four-year-old had been sitting on Duffy’s lap while he was at the wheel of his boss’s van.

The justices heard how Duffy claimed he had been “persuaded” to take the child, who was unwell, to buy some medicine and then to a local park for a walk to make the youngster feel better.

During his latest appearance, Duffy, of North Street, Colne, admitted driving with excess alcohol in a Saab in Skipton Road, Earby, on March 13th. The defendant, who is said to work “on and off”, was fined £160 and must pay £400 costs and a £20 victim surcharge. He was banned from driving for 14 months. He was disqualified for 23 months in June.

Prosecutor Andrew Robinson told the latest hearing that police received a report of a vehicle turned over near the Punch Bowl, Earby. They believed it was on fire. An officer went to the scene and was directed to the pub. The defendant had been seen going into the pub and had his son with him.

Mr Robinson continued: “It would appear his son was a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the accident. He had ordered a pint of lager and some water and a coke for the boy.”

The defendant was arrested and gave a police station breath test reading of 58 micrograms of alcohol in 100 ml of breath. The legal limit is 35.

John Rusius (defending) said: “He was driving along, came to a bend and a vehicle came in the opposite direction on the wrong side of the road. He had to swerve to avoid that. That was not his fault.

“He was in shock, there was a pub next door, he walked into the pub and he ordered himself a pint. He rang the police, they breath-tested him and he was over the limit.

“That surprised him as he had only had the pint. What he didn’t appreciate was the fact he had been drinking the night before and this pint must have topped him up, if you will. He was driving over the limit and he simply was not aware of that. He pleaded not guilty as he thought the pint may have taken him over the limit, but when he realised that was not the case he entered his guilty plea.”

Passing sentence, the Bench told Duffy the aggravating features of the case were that there was an accident and he had a passenger. The chairman told the defendant: “Just learn. Just don’t do it. Driving when you have had too much beer is bad enough, but with your son in the car as well? You are old enough to know better.”