South Shields man pretended to be his brother after being found slumped in a car while over the alcohol limit

A man found slumped over the steering wheel of a car with alcohol in his system avoided prosecution for being drunk in charge of a vehicle by pretending to be his brother.

Police found Michael Shiel in a vehicle on February 16 last year after a report of concern for the person inside.

Newcastle Crown Court heard instead of providing his own details to the officers, he used the name of his brother but gave his own address.

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The 30-year-old maintained the identity of his sibling when he was taken into police custody, interviewed and processed through the booking-in procedure by officers.The court heard it was only after he received a court summons that he confessed what he had done.

The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court.The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court.
The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court.

Despite having a reading of almost twice the legal limit for alcohol in his breath, Shiel was not prosecuted for being drunk behind the wheel in his own name.

However, Shiel, of Lincoln Road, South Shields, was charged with doing an act intending and intended to pervert the course of justice and pleaded guilty.The court heard Shiel's brother was made aware of what had happened.

Vic Laffey, defending, said Shiel had been drinking too much at the time. He said he had made a "very, very foolish decision” in his actions, but had at least eventually done the right thing and owned up.

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Mr Laffey added: "Thankfully, albeit late in the day, he came to his senses, he contacted a representative of my firm when the summons arrived and arrangements were made to put things right.

"He was found slumped over the steering wheel so if charged it would have been drunk in charge of a vehicle rather than driving."

The court heard there was no evidence Shiel had been actually driving the car while over the legal alcohol limit.

Judge Robert Adams sentenced him to four months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months.

Shiel was not given a driving ban by the court.

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Judge Adams said disqualification was unnecessary and added: "You have no history of road traffic offending, you weren't alleged to have been driving the vehicle."

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