A lager-drinking driver refused to provide a blood sample to police after being arrested after celebrating at a company birthday party.
Tony Job started out drinking orange juice on Labor Day in South Shields on July 31 this year, but switched to coolers and then ‘full strength lager’ after receiving drink vouchers. But the 39-year-old made the mistake of getting into his car intending to return home to Longbenton via the Tyne Tunnel – but ended up wandering off and was arrested by police. After a breath test was not recorded, Job was asked to provide a blood sample, which he refused because he had “bottled” it.
Job appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court this week to be convicted of failing to provide a specimen. He had pleaded guilty to the offence.
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Greg Flaxen, prosecuting, said on July 31 that police saw Job driving “without headlights” and stopped him near Tesco in South Shields. He said: “He was originally arrested for driving while unfit but was unable to use the breath test. The officer then asked for a blood sample and he refused. We suggest that it was a deliberate refusal.”
Michael Gibson, defending, said Job was a married man who had been driving for 22 years and had “never been in a collision” and it was the first time he had been stopped by police. He said: “He only drinks at events and he went for a work anniversary. His intention was to leave his car and pick it up the next day, but work put out drink vouchers that he agreed. He started with orange juice, then shandy and then a full-strength lager. He made a decision he wouldn’t normally make to drive home… he found himself lost.”
Mr Gibson said Job was ‘very short of breath’ which led to a ‘real failure’ in the breath test, adding: ‘He was given the opportunity to provide a blood sample which he accepted. But in the presence of the nurse, he bottled it and refused.”
District Judge Zoe Passfield sentenced Job to an 18-month community order and banned him from driving for 18 months. He must complete 20 days of rehabilitation, attend a rehabilitation course and pay £85 in fees and an additional £140.
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