South Tyneside mum admits drink driving in court after magistrates “terrified” her into admitting the road crime

The claim was made by her solicitor.

A South Tyneside mum has pleaded guilty to drink driving after magistrates “terrified” her into admitting the roads’ crime, her solicitor told them.

Defender Jason Smith made the stark statement during a fraught exchange with JPs in relation to his client Abbey McCaffery, 27.

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Mr Smith had told them McCaffery, of Chichester Road, South Shields, was unable to enter a plea to the allegation against her.

South Shields Magistrates Court.South Shields Magistrates Court.
South Shields Magistrates Court.

He said that was because she had consumed booze between driving and being breathalysed at almost four times the limit on Sunday, May 7.

It meant prosecutors could not be sure of her exact level of intoxication while behind the wheel, a factor which could impact on the severity of her sentence.

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To be sure of her breath test reading, Mr Smith said he required an expert to assess before and after booze levels – and the findings would take around two weeks.

Without knowing her precise alcohol level while driving, he said he could not advise her on her plea.

Mr Smith also said the findings could prove McCaffery was driving below the limit and was innocent of any crime – and he asked the court to adjourn the hearing.

But magistrates pressed him to get her to enter a plea, leading to stalemate and to Mr Smith and McCaffery taking a break from the courtroom.

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He returned minutes later to tell them: “You’ve terrified my client so much she wants to enter a guilty plea.”

When McCaffery re-entered and the charge was re-read, she pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol.

She gave a reading of 124mcg of alcohol in breath while driving a Nissan Micra on Chichester Road. The legal limit is 35mcg.

Mr Smith then repeated his request for magistrates to adjourn the case for an expert report, to which they agreed.

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They also agreed to his plea to not impose an interim driving ban until sentencing.

McCaffery was granted unconditional bail to be sentenced at the same court on Tuesday, June 20.

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