South Tyneside drug driver using 'special reasons defence' to try and limit punishment

The man pleaded guilty to two counts of drug driving in March.
South Shields Magistrates Court.South Shields Magistrates Court.
South Shields Magistrates Court.

A South Tyneside Nissan worker who has admitted driving while over the drug-drive limit is to mount a special defence in a bid to limit his punishment.

At the borough’s magistrates’ court, James Phinn, 34, pleaded guilty to two counts of drug driving in Marshall Wallis Road, Chichester, South Shields, on Thursday, March 9.

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Phinn, of Marshall Wallis Road, also admitted driving without a licence and without insurance on the same day.

But his solicitor, Val Bell, said Phinn intended to mount a special reasons defence as to why he was at the wheel.

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Ms Bell told the court it would be based on her client’s claim he had driven only a short distance before police intervention.

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A special reasons defence allows a court to apply discretion as to possible exceptional circumstances surrounding a driving conviction.

Phinn gave a blood sample reading for cocaine of 24mcg. The legal limit is 10mcg.

He also gave a reading of 800mcg for cocaine derivative BZE. The legal limit is 50mcg.

His hearing will take place at the same court on Friday, October 6.