Rugby player receives ban for drink driving, after withdrawing 'special reasons' claims

08/01/2009

Mike Tindall, the England and Gloucester rugby player, has today received a three-year driving ban after being found to be over the legal alcohol limit.

At a hearing in Reading magistrates court, Tindall withdrew his claim that a sports injury to his liver may have caused the reading, amounting to a special reason to avoid disqualification. He was sentenced by Judge Davinder Lachhar to an automatic ban of three years, as this was his second drink driving conviction in 10 years. He was also fined £500 with £75 costs and ordered to do a drivers rehabilitation course by 8 February 2011.

CPS Senior Crown Prosecutor, Mrs Victoria Griffiths, said after the hearing: "Driving with excess alcohol is a very serious offence and the public interest requires prosecution in such cases. Whatever the implications may be for the offender, the risk to the public from drivers who are found to be over the limit far outweighs such consideration and the decision to prosecute Mr Tindall was made in accordance with this policy and based on the evidence available. His case was dealt with in the same way as any drink driving offence and the long delay between conviction and sentence was due to the claim for special reasons not to disqualify, raised by the defence."

"On behalf of CPS Thames Valley and the police, I would like to take this opportunity to remind people that it is possible to be over the drink drive limit the morning after drinking the night before, even if they think they are safe to drive. Not only do they run the risk of receiving a driving ban, they also run the risk of being involved in a collision, possibly causing injury or even death. "

Tindall was stopped by police between junctions 12 and 11 of the M4 on the morning of 15 March last year, after traffic officers noticed his Range Rover Sport travelling at around 90 mph, before swerving across three lanes into the slip road of the eastbound motorway services at Reading. Tindall was arrested and taken to Newbury police station, where he gave a positive breath test. A subsequent blood test revealed a reading of 91mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. The legal limit is 80mg.

Tindall told police that on the previous day he had attended Cheltenham Festival and admitted drinking at the races during the afternoon and continuing during the evening of 14 March. He was charged with drink driving on 29 April and subsequently pleaded guilty on 7 July but wished to argue special reasons for not being disqualified, claiming that a sports injury to his liver in February may have affected his blood/alcohol reading and that he had had no intention of drink driving.

Sentence was adjourned so that the special reason for committing the offence could be argued and two further hearings were held, one at Newbury on 24 October and then at Reading on 5 December; however, on each occasion the defence failed to provide expert medical evidence to substantiate the special reason claim and asked for adjournments.

Ends

For further information contact Jacqui Broadbridge, Group Communications Manager, CPS Thames Valley, on 0118 951 3640

Editors notes 

The Crown Prosecution Service is the authority responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. It is responsible for:

Advising the police and reviewing the evidence on cases for possible prosecution

Deciding the charge where the decision is to prosecute

Preparing cases for court

Presenting cases at court

The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales. The CPS employs around 8,400 people and prosecuted 1,091,250 cases with an overall conviction rate of 83.7% in 2006-2007. Further information can be found on our website: www.cps.gov.uk

The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.  This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests.  The Protocol is published on our website at:  

http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/agencies/mediaprotocol.html