Friday, 1 May 2015

Van driver cleared of drink charge

It's random article form the newspaper archives time again.

I can't remember what I was searching for when this spilled out. Probably "Light Ale". Just checked. It was actually "Mild Ale".

There's something I've noticed about prosecutions for drink driving back in the day. Unless the accused was seen by several witnesses to knock back a couple of bottles of whisky they almost always got off. Even in cases when it was pretty obvious they had been totally smashed.

The problem seems to have been lack of hard evidence. It was only in 1967, with the introduction of the breathalyser and a legal limit on the amount of alcohol drivers were permitted to have in their blood, that convictions increased. Before then, drivers had a pretty good chance of getting away with drink driving. It's a scary thought. And the increasing number of accidents caused by drunks was what prompted the change in the rules.

What do you think: was Mr. Doyle pissed?

"Van driver cleared of drink charge
JOHN DOYLE, 47, a newspaper van driver at Chelmsford, und whose home address Pit field Street, N.1, was at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court yesterday cleared of summonses alleging that he drove a van while under the influence of drink, and that was in charge of the van that condition.

Mr. J. Sharman. defending, pleaded not guilty, and the end of a long hearing the Bench dismissed both cases.

The allegation was that Doyle was seen in charge of the van at Great Baddow, where he went into a public-house.

Later he was found the police dumped in the driving seat of the van, which was in Day's yard at the junction of Park Road and Duke Street. Chelmsford. He appeared dazed, and had to be assisted.

He clung to the van, and was most unsteady on his feet. His breath smelt strongly of alcohol, and his speech was slurred. At the police station, he said: " Nothing to say: I think it’s a carve up."

A submission by Mr. Sharman that Day's yard was not a public place, and therefore there was no right of arrest, was rejected by the Bench, and Mr. Sharman went on to deny that Doyle was in any way under the influence of drink.

Doyle, who has held a driving licence for eleven years, and has a perfectly clean record, said he had been employed his present employers for 14 years. He was under treatment for duodenal ulcer. That evening, while on his round, he had just one or two drinks of mild ale or light ale - he was very careful about drinking because of his complaint — and was in no way affected by it.

When he got to the yard he had a violent pain in his stomach, and folded his arms and stayed in the van."
Essex Newsman - Friday 16 June 1950, page 1.

Sounds as pissed as a rat to me.

It's interesting that Mild and Light Ale were mentioned specifically. Presumably because they were known to be low in alcohol. Odd that he couldn't remember which, seeing as one is a draught beer and the other a bottled one. Maybe he'd too many to remember properly.


Anonymous said...

It reminds me of the old Glaswegian joke when two people came across a man lying in the gutter.
"Is he drunk ?" asked the first
"No, he can still move his eyelids" was the reply.

Leticia Holt said...

I agree. Drunk driving charges must be scrutinized more closely. And with the current technology available, the investigations and prosecutions have certainly improved from what it was before, so that the guilty ones are truly indicted, and the innocent ones cleared. That is an Interesting story, though. Thanks for sharing!

Leticia Holt @ Kim E. Hunter, PLLC