Disabled former taxi driver hit woman and police officer after allegedly drink-driving in Motability car

South Tyneside Magistrates' Court
South Tyneside Magistrates' Court

A disabled former taxi driver has lost his driving licence after refusing to give a sample of breath to police.

South Tyneside Magistrates were told Ian Ireland, 51, turned up at his female cousin’s house in his Motability car while allegedly drunk.

When the woman tried to take the car keys off him, an argument broke out and he hit her.

Ireland then got into an argument with police who came to arrest him and hit an officer on the chin.

Paul Anderson, prosecuting, told the court: “Mr Ireland suffers from multiple sclerosis.

“His cousin said he was displaying the signs of having been drinking, so she tried to take the keys from him.

“She was struck in the jaw during the ensuing altercation.

“Police were called and Mr Ireland didn’t want to go with them.

“He was handcuffed and put in the back of the car.”

He added: “As this was being done, Mr Ireland struck one of the officers on the chin.

“He described the blow as painful, but says it caused no injury.”

The court heard Ireland continued to argue at the police station and refused to take a breath test, ripping the printout off the breath test CAMIC machine.

Ireland, 51, of St Joseph’s Court, Hebburn, denied assault by beating, assaulting a police officer, and failing to provide a specimen of breath.

He was convicted of all offences after a trial.

The court heard he has a previous conviction for drink driving in 2011.

He also owes £225 in outstanding court fines.

David Forrester, defending, said: “Mr Ireland does not accept he was drunk.

“He was unsteady on his feet and his speech was slurred because of his multiple sclerosis.

“His father was a police officer and he worked hard as a London cab driver until the lottery of life landed him with multiple sclerosis.

“It is something with which he struggles with, both physically and mentally.”

He added: “His condition is deteriorating and the loss of his licence will impact heavily on his independence.

“It is a sad situation.”

Ireland was banned from driving for three years, and ordered to pay fines and costs of £455.

He was also made the subject of a community order of 12 months, including 25 days of rehabilitation activity.