A district judge has hit out at national solicitor firms which ‘promise the world’ at great expense to clients charged with drink driving - after telling a Bourne woman her defence was ‘fanciful.’
Peter Veits said: “It always troubles me when people go down the route of engaging these firms over drink-drive offences who are willing to provide defences with little or no chance of success. Google is not good in that respect.
“There are some very good local solicitor firms which can offer advice.”
Mr Veits was hearing the case of Bourne resident Penelope Mary Isobel Davison at Boston Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday. (March 27)
Davison changed her plea from not guilty after the judge heard that the main defence was the unreliability of both machines on which she had been breath-tested.
Solicitor Michael Keys said his client claimed she had only had one or two pints, and he added: “It clearly has to be shown that [the machines] are properly maintained.”
Mr Veits said it was unlikely that two machines were not reading correctly and suggested the defence was a “fanciful hope”. He persuaded Mr Keys to talk to his client again.
Davison, 60, reappeared later with a different solicitor and pleaded guilty to drink-driving at Victoria Place, Bourne, on February 19.
The court heard that a call had been made to the police who found Davison at home in Victoria Place. She gave a positive breath test and was arrested, later blowing an evidential reading of 57 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath; the legal limit is 35.
Evidence was heard that Davison was emotionally unstable at the time.
In mitigation, Vicky Clareson said: “She doesn’t remember much of what happened, her mental state being so fragile.”
Miss Clareson said Davison had been a nurse for 25 years and was very upset at finding herself in this situation.
“She’s spent a lot of money on trying to find a way out of this,” added Miss Clareson.
Mr Veits replied: “I dread to think.”
The judge said he gave Davison maximum credit for the guilty plea because he didn’t think the not guilty plea was “completely down to her”. He said some firms “promise the world” but she had been sensible in changing her plea.
“You have been through a very rough time and I only hope things improve for you,” Mr Veit added.
Davison was disqualified from driving for 12 months, which can be reduced by three months with successful completion of a drink-drivers’ rehabilitation course. She was fined £250 and told to pay £85 costs and £30 victim surcharge.