Drink-driver three times over limit had child on knee

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A drink-driver almost three times the limit was caught after police spotted he had a small child sitting on his knee, a court was told.

The four-year-old was sitting on the lap of Brett Duffy while he was at the wheel of his boss’s van. Duffy smelled strongly of alcohol and was immediately breath tested when an officer spoke to him.

Pennine magistrates heard how Duffy claimed he had been “persuaded” to take the child, who was ill, to buy some medicine and then to a local park for a walk to make the youngster feel better.

The defendant, who has since lost his job, has now been banned from driving. The Bench said the fact the child was sitting on his knee unrestrained was an aggravating factor of the case and added Duffy’s actions had put the youngster, other road users and pedestrians at risk.

Duffy (35), of Slater Avenue, Colne, admitted driving a van with excess alcohol in North Valley Road, Colne, on May 13th. He was given an eight-week curfew, between 7pm and 7am, seven days a week and must pay £85 costs, a £60 victim surcharge and a £150 criminal court charge. He was disqualified for 23 months.

Prosecutor Miss Tracy Yates said a police officer was in an unmarked vehicle at 8-30pm, when she noticed a small child sitting on the knee of the driver of a van.

She followed it on several streets and the vehicle stopped. She went to speak to the driver and identified herself as a police officer.

The prosecutor continued: “The defendant was the driver and he smelled strongly of alcohol. He provided a positive roadside sample of breath and was taken to the police station, where the lower of two readings was 92 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath.” The legal limit is 35.

Mr Richard Taylor (for Duffy) said: “He’s ashamed and very embarrassed about being here today. He pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, co-operated fully with the police and has no previous excess alcohol offences. He has a clean licence and he hasn’t troubled these courts for 12 years.

“There’s no bad driving here. It’s very unfortunate and through me he apologises. At the moment, he has no income, but he’s always been a hard worker.”