a DRINK-driver caught by cops in a police station car park – just a day after being stopped more than four times over the limit – has been spared jail.
Daniel McCormack had been at South Shields Police Station to pick up belongings after being arrested the day before on suspicion of drink-driving.
The 63-year-old had initially been arrested by police at 10.25am on Saturday, March 29, near Hebburn Police Station in Victoria Road East.
Police were alerted by his ‘erratic driving’, and pulled him up close to the station.
He was then taken to South Shields Police Station and recorded a reading of 372 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 milliletres of blood – more than four times above the legal limit of 80 milligrames.
After being released from the station, he drove back the following day to pick up belongings.
But police suspected he may have been over the limit as he slowly drove out of the station and gave him another breath test, which revealed he was more than two times over.
McCormack, of Solway Road, Hebburn, admitted two counts of driving with excess alcohol at a hearing at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court in June.
He was back at the court yesterday for sentencing, which had been previously delayed due to his ill-health.
The court heard he had been in intensive care suffering from double pneumonia when he was due to be sentenced last month.
Sarah Guest, prosecuting, said: “He was seen by police driving eratically.
“He was driving along Victoria Road East near the police station.
“They see the vehicle and ask the driver to stop.
“Another vehicle stops behind, and says he has been driving like that for a while.
“The following day, a police officer on duty at South Shields Police Station saw the defendant in the station, and noted he smelt strongly of alcohol.
“He was seen getting into his Ford Focus car in the car and drove at a slow speed. He was stopped at that point and given a roadside breath test. He recorded a reading of 81mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath (more two times above the legal limit of 35mcg).”
Geoffrey Forrester, defending, said: “The reason the case has taken as long as it has is because the defendant has been extremely ill.
“He has had double pneumonia and been in hospital for many weeks.
“The circumstances are so unique that you may feel you can come outside your guidelines to deal with this in a just and fair way.”
McCormack was given a 12-week jail sentence – suspended for 12 months – and was banned from driving for three years. He was also ordered to pay costs of £30.
Carole Whittingham, secretary of the Campaign Against Drinking And Driving, says she is unsure ‘what it will take’ for magistrates to exercise their powers to jail drink-drivers.
She said: “This is a very high reading. Anybody who is over the drink and drive limit is a danger.
“What do you have to do for magistrates to use their power to jail offenders for up to six months?”