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Paul Gascoigne fails to appear at Court

View profile for Sean Joyce
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The celebrities of this world are as fallible as the rest of us and often find themselves at Court for a variety of civil and criminal matters. The case of Paul Gascoigne highlights the problems that can arise when an allegation of drink driving, or driving with excess alcohol as it would appear on his charge sheet, is encountered.
Mr Gascoigne had already appeared at Newcastle Magistrates Court three weeks earlier and entered a plea of guilty to the offence of driving with excess alcohol. The case had been adjourned so that a probation report could be prepared which would be used by the District Judge to gauge the sentence to be imposed. However, ‘Gazza’ as he was known in his glory days as an England midfield dynamo, failed to turn up at Court for the next hearing and his solicitor was only able to give limited information regarding the location of his client. It is entirely possible that at the next appearance Gascoigne could be jailed over the Christmas period as his reading for the allegation was more than four times over the legal limit.
The District Judge at Newcastle Magistrates Court was generous to ‘Gazza’ and allowed a further adjournment so that the probation report could be prepared and sentence passed. The Judge commented ‘Now let’s be absolutely clear, he should be treated no differently than anybody else, he has voluntarily put himself into a rehabilitation clinic and has voluntarily absented himself from Court and that’s the bit that causes me concern. I will sentence him without a report or, secondly, I will lock him up to get the report,’ he told Newcastle Magistrates Court. ‘There will be no special treatment in any way.’
‘Gazza’ has always had a rocky relationship with drinking and the press have been diligent in their efforts to provide him with plenty of column space. The press have covered his series of breakdowns in the last few years and in 2008 he was sectioned twice under the Mental Health Act. However, the end of the season may be just around the corner for ‘Gazza’ as the sentence passed will undoubtedly contain a lengthy disqualification period and a good possibility of a custodial sentence. It is not always easy to watch our sporting heroes fall from grace and we can only hope that this is the wake up call that ‘Gazza’ seems so desperately in need of.