Sometimes court users seem to be surprised when magistrates ask a question that reveals that they have a life outside the court, and - yes - might even take a drink occasionally.
John had been stopped for drink driving, and the Lion Intoximeter in the police station showed him to have a breath reading of 54 (the limit being 35). He pleaded guilty, and I asked him what he wanted to say about the offence.
"I am sorry for the offence, but I don't really understand how it happened". "Why is that?" "Well, I only had one pint at home". "One pint of what?" "Snakebite". "By that you mean lager and cider mixed?" "Yes". "What sort of cider was it?" "Diamond White". "The lager?" "Tennents Super". "Did you notice the strength of those two drinks?" "Nine per cent". "What size cans were they - were they the tall ones?" "Yes". "They are 500ml. aren't they?" "Yes". "That's more than a pint then, isn't it? What happened to the drink left in the cans? Did you put them back in the fridge to go flat?" " I'm not sure". "So it's likely, isn't it, that you drank a litre of nine percent alcohol?" "Yes, I suppose I did".
We fined him as per the guidelines and banned him for a year. We offered him the Drink Drivers' Rehabilitation Scheme, which means that he will get a 25% reduction in the ban if he takes and pays for a course of drink education. I thought at the time that he could do with it.
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