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Driving ban for sleep-driving doctor

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Dr Donald Clegg has recently been disqualified from driving for a period of 12 months by Bury Magistrates after being charged with an offence of drink driving. At the Court he proceeded to put forward a partial defence of sleep walking to the allegation of driving with excess alcohol. Dr Clegg employed the services of a specialist motoring solicitor and put forward a special reason to the Court to explain his actions on the night of the incident.

The local GP was nearly four times over the legal drink drive limit when he crashed into three motor vehicles. The alcohol reading given at the Police Station was 127 in breath, with the legal limit being 35 so there is no doubt that this high reading will have caused the Court real concern over his actions on the night of the offence. The Doctor's special reason to explain why he was drink driving was that he was asleep and in a state of auto-autonomy, meaning that he was not conscious, when he got into his Vauxhall Zafira and drove away from his home. He was seen by witnesses to drive out of the address, crash into several nearby cars and then have the keys physically taken from the car by a concerned member of the public.

The GP's legal case was not helped by the fact that he had driven his car into a tree eight months previously and then blamed the crash on sleep walking. The Chairman of the Magistrates Court told Dr Clegg that "we have considered special reasons, but we have heard about a similar incident in April where you drove a vehicle and hit a tree. You have told us today that you took no steps to ensure that it would not happen again. You posed a significant risk to other road users and pedestrians. In all the circumstances we feel it’s necessary and appropriate to impose a disqualification." The Doctor should have faced a ban from driving for several years and custody was also an option for the Court to consider. However, having a motoring lawyer on his side meant that he received a short ban and was not sent to prison or given a suspended sentence.

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