Driving ban after car crash

A MAN was banned for drink-driving despite claiming he persuaded a friend to take the wheel before a car crashed into a lamp standard.

Removals man Stephen Shaw told a court he had been drinking so asked another man to drive – but magistrates found him guilty of drink-driving in an Ilkeston street after he refused to give up the name of the person he says was driving.

As well as a 23-month driving disqualification, he was ordered to pay £600 prosecution costs and do 180 hours unpaid work.

Peter Bettany, prosecuting, told magistrates that a doorman saw a car crash into a lamppost outside the Hop Inn on South Street on May 19 last year. Someone got out of the vehicle and began to kick the ignition barrel before leaving the area.

“This was to make it look as if the car had been stolen,” Mr Bettany told the court in Derby. Shaw’s DNA was found on the driver’s airbag.

Shaw, 27, of St Norbert Drive, Kirk Hallam, was later traced and took a breath test. This gave a reading of 91 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

Peter Jones, for Shaw, said he declined to give details about the person who had been driving and was ‘hoist by his own petard’.

Mr Jones said: “He didn’t drop his friend into this situation and made it a lot worse by taking that particular line.”

He said Shaw had no similar previous convictions and told the three magistrates: “He doesn’t accept he was driving.”

Mr Jones said the trial heard evidence that a passenger – not the driver – was speaking aggressively to a crowd of people watching.

He said the motoring ban would affect Shaw’s earnings for a Nottingham removals firm because he would now be employed as a porter rather than someone permitted to drive a three-tonne lorry.

Mr Jones added: “This is not an unintelligent young man and he appreciates the impact of offending on other people.

“What is significant is the evidence that he took responsibility in asking the other person to drive the vehicle.”

A probation report said Shaw had a tendency to “binge drink” but there was no evidence to suggest he depended on alcohol.

“He doesn’t accept responsibility for the accident. He said the other person drove the vehicle and crashed into the lamppost,” the report added. Shaw was put on probation for six months.