Magistrates have come under fire over a decision not to ban a drink driver because she moved a car just two feet.
The Echo reported yesterday that Caroline Robinson ended up in court after deciding to starighten up her partner’s car parked on Eastlea Road, Seaham, because it was jutting out on the road.
However, after hitting another vehicle, a neighbour called police.
A blood test showed the 42-year-old had 328microgrammes of alcohol in 100millitres of blood – the legal limit is 80microgrammes – although Robinson said she had gone back inside and continued to drink, which would have made for a higher reading.
The bench at Peterlee Magistrates Court decided against a ban after hearing she had only driven a foot in both a forward and backward direction.
Deciding not to disqualify her, chairwoman of the bench Kathleen Ireland said: “We find there was a lack of intention to drive, it was a very short distance that was driven, and there wasn’t a clear danger to other road users.”
Robinson, of Essex Crescent, Seaham was given 11 penalty points on her licence, fined £275, ordered to pay £85 in court costs and a victim surcharge of £27.50.
A spokesperson for road safety charity Brake said “allowing offenders to escape a ban sends out the wrong message” and Echo readers were of a similar opinion on our Facebook page.
George Middleton wrote: “I don’t care how far she drove, jail her.”
Laura Hanson commented: “Still drunk in charge of a vehicle. Irrelevant how far she drove! Disgraceful.”
Jim Beresford posted: “She had the keys, the car moved, still in charge of vehicle ... end of story. Chairwoman of the bench Kathleen Ireland needs to resign – immediately.”
Anne Hall added: “She drank, she moved the car, she got caught. She’s guilty.”
Shaun Fox Doneathy wrote: “I know someone who got charged just for being asleep with the keys in his pocket, shocking.”
Matty Berry added: “Shocking!! The law should apply to everybody.”