Plymouth man gets driving ban and fine for letting friend take wheel
A SHOP assistant from Plymstock has been ordered to pay more than £1,000 and been banned from driving by city magistrates.
Christopher Dawson, of Alexander Close, was found guilty of being in possession of cocaine, and of aiding or abetting a drink-driver following a trial at the court.
He had denied the charges, but previously admitted a charge of permitting to drive with no insurance. Magistrates cleared him of being in charge of a vehicle while over the drink-drive limit.
Dawson was the front seat passenger in his convertible Audi S5 on Sunday, June 10, 2011, when his friend Andrew Walters, who only held a provisional driving licence, was at the wheel while over the drink-drive limit.
Walters, aged 27, from Coleman Drive in Plymstock, had previously admitted, and been sentenced for, driving with excess alcohol, driving without insurance and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence and was not involved in the trial.
The court heard how the pair had spent the Saturday evening drinking with friends at the Drake Drum pub, a mile from Dawson's address.
Dawson told the court that he had given Walters the keys to his Audi after his pal suggested he drove the vehicle back to Dawson's house, telling him he was "fully comp" and "good to go".
Dawson, 30, who also provided a positive roadside breath test, denied knowing Walters was over the limit.
Prosecutor Carri-Ann Rawlings said the white Audi was first seen by police officers being driven "erratically" at 12.20am on Mount Batten Way. The officers chased the vehicle for 0.8miles before it came to a stop in the middle of Southernway in Plymstock, the court heard, estimating they needed to drive at 60mph to keep up, the court heard.
On arrival at Charles Cross Police Station Dawson was found to have 0.43 grams of the Class A drug in a small bag inside the pocket of his jeans. He told police and the court that he "didn't know" how it came to be there.
Magistrates ordered him to pay a £355 fine for aiding or abetting a drink-driver, £15 victim surcharge, £110 fine for possession of cocaine and £620 in costs. He was disqualified from driving for three years. The ban will not come into effect until Dawson has had an opportunity to appeal, which his solicitor told the court would be lodged.