Sunderland dad spared jail for driving to see son on Father's Day while almost three-times the limit

A dad who drove to see his son on Father’s Day while almost three times the limit has escaped being jailed for his second drink-drive offence in eight years.

Monday, 7th September 2020, 7:00 am
The case was heard at South Tyneside Law Courts.

Paul Potts, 30, of Dinsdale Street, Roker, Sunderland, jumped in his white Ford Focus after attending a barbecue on Sunday, June 21, a court heard.

But he was pulled over by police in Leechmere Road, also Sunderland, in the 2011-registered motor on his way to his ex-partner’s home.

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard a roadside breath test showed 96 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The self-employed joiner and roofer has now been handed a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months – and a three-year driving ban.

District Judge Kathryn Meek told him: “You clearly can make the right decision most of the time, but why you would think that your son would want to see you drunk on Father’s Day, I don’t know.”

Jason Smith, defending, said: “He accepts that he was drunk and shouldn’t have been driving the vehicle.

“I don’t think that he has a reasonable excuse. It was his car.

“There were some child care issues and I’m told that he needed to get to where he needed to go to.

“He was told in no uncertain terms by his ex-partner to sort out child care.

“He’s made a very serious mistake and he’s driven which he shouldn’t have.”

Mr Smith added: “He had no intention of putting anyone in the car.

“It was Father’s Day and he had been out at a barbecue. He wasn’t going to pick his son up.

“He took it upon himself to see his child. He made an horrendous mistake for which he will pay heavily.

“He has a previous conviction and he knows the risk of drink-driving.”

In giving details of Potts’ offence to the court, the Probation Service described his decision to drive as “very poor”.

Potts, who pleaded guilty to drink-driving at a previous hearing, must also do 200 hours of unpaid work and pay a £128 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.

A message from the Editor:

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

Subscribe to the Sunderland Echo website and enjoy unlimited access to local news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit here to sign up. You can subscribe to the newspaper with 20% off here. Thank you.