Sunderland drink driver's slurred speech may have been down to false teeth

False teeth and not booze may have been to blame for a drink-driver slurring his words, a defence solicitor claimed.

Friday, 23rd July 2021, 4:45 am
Updated Friday, 23rd July 2021, 9:37 am
The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

Simon Collingham’s remarks came after prosecutor Leanne Duffy told magistrates Bennett, 61, had stumbled over his words while buying beer at lunchtime.

He also dropped some of the eight cans he was holding at Food Warehouse, at Washington’s Peel Retail Park, leading staff to tip off police when they saw him leave the store and drive off.

Bennett, of Rignall, Teal Farm, is now starting a 24-month roads’ ban after pleading guilty to drink-driving at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

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Ms Duffy said the offence was on Wednesday, June 16, adding: “At around 12.25pm, the witness said the defendant bought eight cans of lager.

“He dropped some of the cans. The witness could smell alcohol and he was slurring his words.

“She thought he was drunk. She then saw him leave the store and get into a car and drive off.

“Officers attended his home address and located the defendant upstairs in his bedroom.”

Ms Duffy said Bennett failed a breath test and was taken to South Shields police station.

On an evidential CAMIC device, he gave a reading of 113mcgs in 100ms of breath. The legal limit is 35mcgs.

Mr Collingham added in mitigation that Bennett had been drinking the night before.

He said Bennett had also had a beer with a pal who had laid turf at his home the following morning.

And he added: “Mr Bennett would like to say, through me, that he’s deeply remorseful and ashamed.

“He’d drunk some beers the night before and a friend came to lay turf and they had a beer. He then drove to get the beers.

“He was clearly intoxicated but the slurring words, he has false teeth.

“He did come home and drink some beers when he came home but this is an unequivocal plea.

“The reason that he went to bed was that his back was hurting.”

Bennett, who has no previous convictions, was also fined £416 and ordered to pay £85 court costs and a £42 victim surcharge.

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