• Wed. May 25th, 2022

A suspected alcohol driver in North Shields refused to give a sample, saying police were acting ‘unlawfully’

A suspected drunk driver has claimed police were acting ‘unlawfully’ when he refused to give a urine sample.

Kenneth Johnson was arrested after officers believed he was under the influence of alcohol and drugs while driving on New Years Day.

The 37-year-old had symptoms of Covid-19 and later tested positive for the virus so he was unable to perform a routine breath test at the police station, a court heard.

Go here for the latest reports and live updates from the North East Courts

However, when asked for a urine sample, the father refused, saying it was “illegal” for officers to ask.

Despite being repeatedly assured that it was legal and that he would be breaking the law if he did not provide a specimen, Johnson continued to deny the request.

And the insane decision has now earned Johnson, of Simonburn Avenue, North Shields, a 17-month driving ban after pleading guilty to failing to provide a specimen.

Rob Lawson, prosecuting at North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, where Johnson appeared in police custody following a warrant for his arrest for failing to appear at a previous hearing, said that the police had stopped him after seeing him driving on his home street.

“The defendant was suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” Lawson continued. “He was taken to Middle Engine Lane Police Station on January 1, 2022.

“A special constable was asked to perform a mechanical breathing procedure. The defendant was not fit for this procedure as he had symptoms of Covid-19.

“A urine sample was requested. He refused saying it was illegal. He was reassured it was legal but he refused to provide a sample.

“It is a deliberate refusal.

The court heard Johnson was also arrested on more serious matters at the time, which were later dropped, and was in a “distressed” state.

Mark Harrison, defending, said: “At the time the officers asked him for a urine sample, he was high up.

“He was upset and anxious. He didn’t think he should have been arrested in the first place and he refused.”

Magistrates gave Johnson an 18-month community order and he was fined £120. He must also pay £85 in costs and a victim fine surcharge of £95.

For daily news from the North East Courts straight to your inbox, go here to sign up for our free Courts newsletter