Friday, 19 November 2010

Spiked

There’s an unusual case here where police officer Myles Hughes escaped a drink-driving ban after it was shown his drinks had been “spiked” by giving him pints of Stella top rather than Stella shandy. Exceeding the legal alcohol limit is essentially a strict liability offence, so it is good to see the courts exercising a bit of discretion where someone has inadvertently ended up over the limit and genuinely believed he wasn’t. If his blood-alcohol level was only 85mg after four Stella tops, it is clear that it would have been well under 80mg after four shandies.

However, it does raise a few questions – did he not see any of the drinks being dispensed, and was he really unable to tell the difference? The barman’s motivation is hard to fathom, and if Hughes had really been planning to drive you might have thought it would make sense to drink Carling shandies rather than Stella shandies. You also have to wonder whether if he had been a member of the public rather than a police officer he would have received the same leniency.

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