Road ban for shandy drinker who blamed order mix up after being caught over the limit

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A driver caught while “out of control” behind the wheel while more than two times over the drink-drive limit blamed a bar order mix-up after being served with a hefty road ban.

Shandy-drinking Michael Cormier had been enjoying a Christmas Eve drink with workmates when he was mistakenly handed an alcoholic beverage.

It is always sad to see someone your age before the court for the first time.

Dave Errington

Despite realising he had been given the wrong order, Cormier made the mistake of sinking the drink.

The 55-year-old then got behind the wheel after the pub outing and was spotted by patrolling police swerving between lanes on the dual carriageway in Newcastle Road, Hebburn, in his Chevrolet Lacetti.

He recorded a reading of 79 mcg of alcohol – more than double the legal limit of 35mcg.

Cormier, of Liffey Road, Hebburn, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

He was given an 18-month road ban, hit with a £285 fine and must pay court costs of 385 and a £28 victim surcharge.

Glenda Beck, prosecuting, said; “At 4.50pm on Christmas Eve, police on duty at Newcastle Road, Hebburn, when they saw a Chevrolet car swerving between the lanes of the dual carriageway as if out of control.

“They pulled over the vehicle and spoke to the driver, noting he smelt of alcohol and was showing signs of drunkenness.

“He was arrested and replied ‘I’m sorry, I’m guilty.”

Ian Haq, defending, said Cormier had never been before the courts until his ill-fated festive journey.

He said; “He is 55 and has never troubled the courts in his life.

“On the day he had gone with work colleagues for a holiday-time outing.

“He had intended to just drink shandy as he was driving.

“On the third round of drinks, there was a mistake made in the order and he was given a pint of beer.

“He accepts he did then realise it wasn’t shandy, but was in a social atmosphere and continued to drink.”

Dave Errington, chairman of the magistrates, said; “It is always sad to see someone of your age before the court for the first time – and it is often for drink-driving in those cases.

“You will have learnt a stark lesson by your choice to drink the alcohol.”