Councillor banned after refusing to do breath test when police were called to his home

A councillor has been banned from driving after being found guilty of failing to provide a breath sample.

Coun Jeff Milburn, from Cleadon, had denied the charge, but was found guilty following a trial.

The councillor on South Tyneside Council was banned from driving for 18 months and given a 12-month community order at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

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However, his solicitor, Geoffery Forrester, told the court he will be appealing against the conviction and sentence.

Coun Jeff Milburn.

Lorna Rimmel, prosecuting, said police were called to Coun Milburn’s home in Sunniside Lane, Cleadon, at 3.30pm on May 1 last year.

She said: “A witness has seen a Volvo parked at a strange angle, which appeared to have made contact with a wall.”

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Ms Rimmel said the witness saw the defendant slumped in the diver’s seat and took the keys out of the ignition. Coun Milburn, who is 60 and represents the Cleadon and East Boldon ward, then went into his house.

She said when the police arrived the defendant’s son answered the door and said his father was upstairs.

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The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

Ms Rimmel said: “The defendant refused to come downstairs.”

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She said officers went upstairs and asked him to provide a specimen of breath.

The prosecutor said: “He said ‘no I am not going to do it’ and when asked why he said ‘It’s my land’.”

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Coun Milburn was arrested and taken to Southwick police station where he was asked to do another breath test.

She said: “He refused to do so and was sick during the procedure. Police seem to think he had done it on purpose.”

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Mr Forrester said there was credible medical evidence that Coun Milburn has a stomach condition which meant he was unable to do the breath test procedure.

“He was unable to provide a breath specimen because he was physically unable to do so.”

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He said his client asked police to let him provide a blood sample instead, but that didn’t happen.

As well as the community order, with 60 hours of unpaid work, and the driving ban, Coun Milburn was ordered to pay £620 costs and a £90 surcharge.