Sunderland man gets banned from drinking alcohol after twocking car, then gets caught out by ankle tag

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A man with booze problems who breached a suspended prison sentence by having a drink and missing an appointment has been spared jail.

But John Quinn, 35, of Conyers Close, Castletown, Sunderland, walked free from South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court with a warning from a judge ringing in his ears.

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District Judge Zoe Passfield said she could allow him to keep his liberty because he was otherwise complying with the terms of the suspended sentence.

However, she cautioned him any further breach would likely see him brought back to court – and put behind bars.

Quinn pleaded guilty to committing a single breach in October of a 12-week jail term, suspended for 12 months.

The sentence was imposed in August by Judge Passfield, after he had pleaded guilty to taking a vehicle without consent.

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She was told an ankle tag device he was obliged to wear had detected he had consumed alcohol – despite him being barred from boozing.

And on one occasion he also failed to meet with his Probation Service officer, another requirement of his suspended sentence.

The suspended sentence requires him to complete 20 rehabilitation days’ work with the Probation Service.

He must also abide by 120 days of alcohol abstinence, monitored by a tag designed to pick up booze consumption.

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The Probation Service told the court the no alcohol requirement appeared to have caused Quinn his main breach problem.

A spokesman said Quinn’s compliance with keeping appointments for his rehabilitation days had increased since breach proceedings against him were started.

He confirmed the judge’s first obligation was to activate the suspended sentence, but there was an option to increase the length of the order.

Joanne Gatens, defending, said the breach against her client read worse on court papers and documents than in reality.

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She urged Judge Passfield not to activate the suspended sentence, insisting it would be unjust to do so.

Instead of jailing Quinn, the judge added three months to his sentence – lengthening it to 15 months – and ordered him to pay the Probation Service £60 costs.

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