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Though caught five times, over the legal limit, under the influence of alcohol, a man still got away from being locked up. (16 January 2013)

Date: 16/01/2013
Duncan Lewis, Legal News Solicitors, Though caught five times, over the legal limit, under the influence of alcohol, a man still got away from being locked up.

Magistrates had declined to lock up Simon Maddison, who was caught behind the wheel of his car having downed a potentially deadly amount of booze.
The 45 year old was caught by the police when he drove along the Chillingham Road, in Heaton, Newcastle, in the early hours of the morning without headlights on.
When he was eventually pulled over by the officer the unemployed Maddison said that it was about time he got caught as he has been drinking a lot of vodka. After taking him to the nearest police station a reading of 176micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath was recorded, the legal limit being 35 micrograms.
Alcoholic Maddison, of Reid Park Road, Jesmond, Newcastle, narrowly avoided prison after he pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court.
Instead he was given a four-month jail term, suspended for 12 months and was banned from the roads for three years. The sentence has sparked outrage among anti-drink drive campaigners and road safety charities.
The presiding magistrate Sue Sinton said she was shocked by the reading and told Maddison that the matter actually had its origins from an incident on December 10 when he was found to be driving with excess alcohol.
She described the reading of 176 micrograms as one of the highest she had seen in the court if not the highest, it was in fact out off the scale and the court believed that an offence so serious deserved custodial sentence she said.
She added that only reason why a custodial sentence was not being activated was because the courts job was to protect the public and sending him to the prison was not the way to do it. She told him that he needed help with his drinking problems.
Maddison was stopped by police at about 12.45am when they spotted him driving without headlights on Chillingham Road, Heaton, before struggling to navigate a roundabout at Shields Road, Byker.
Rebecca Laverick, prosecuting, said after the officer smelled alcohol the defendant told them that it was time he got caught as he was drinking a lot of alcohol.
Drink driving solicitor, defending, told the court Maddison had a deep-rooted and long-running problem with alcohol.
He said it indeed was a very high reading, and his client had an entrenched alcohol problem for number of years and he had in the past taken many a steps to address it. The solicitor said that the alcohol problem could be solved if he was given the right treatment as he was an intelligent man.
Franki Hackett, campaigns officer at road safety charity Brake, said the problem of drink-driving was incredibly dangerous, and it was appalling that lenient sentences were being given out to people who risked lives on the roads.

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