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Saughall driver who refused breath test banned for four years

Matthew Brown was also given a four month suspended prison sentence

The Law Courts in Mold

A driver almost fell out of his vehicle when police opened the door of a car parked partly on a pavement.

There was an overwhelming smell of liquor in the vehicle, a court was told on Monday (September 11).

The driver, Matthew Harold Brown, told police he would not provide a breath test.

He was argumentative and did not do so either at the roadside or at the police station, Flintshire Magistrates’ Court was told.

Brown, of Park Way in Saughall, admitted failing to provide a breath specimen following his arrest at Holywell Road in Ewloe on August 24.

The 33-year-old defendant admitted failing to provide a breath test and was banned from driving for four years.

He received a four month prison sentence suspended for 18 months and was ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work.

Magistrates ordered him to pay £85 costs and a £115 surcharge and said they would not offer him a drink drivers’ rehabilitation course which would reduce his ban by a quarter. It had not worked previously, they said.

Prosecutor Sheyanne Lee said police were in Holywell Road in Ewloe on another matter at 11.25pm and saw Brown’s car approach with no lights. It mounted a pavement and came to a stop.

An officer approached intending to advise him about the lights but as he got closer saw that the defendant was slumped behind the wheel. He looked very sleepy and had an injury to his forehead.

Fearing that Brown had fallen ill, the officer opened the door and immediately detected an overwhelming smell of liquor, she explained.

The officer tried to engage with him but he was unresponsive and nearly fell out of the vehicle.

At the police station Brown was emotional, unsteady on his feet, his eyes were glazed and he was argumentative.

Defending solicitor Mark Shanks said Brown was not a dependent drinker but he did use alcohol to cope at times of stress.

He and his partner had an 18-month-old son who needed regular hospital appointments and that caused a huge amount of stress.

That day he returned from work, there had been an argument, he removed himself but began drinking in the car.

He had not intended to drive but after five or six drinks foolishly decided to do so.

Brown was self-employed and travelled the country installing playground equipment for local authorities and others.

A driving ban would cause great inconvenience but it was hoped that he could continue working if one of his colleagues could drive.

But Mr Shanks said an immediate custodial sentence would have a catastrophic effect on the defendant and his family.

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