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Celebrity law firm helps Knutsford woman avoid drink driving charge
MR Loophole came to the rescue of a Knutsford motorist who faced losing her license after being caught drink driving.
Jon Oultram from Freeman & Co solicitors – who have defended celebrities including Jeremy Clarkson and Frank Lampard – convinced Trafford magistrates that Gillian Williams of Warrington Road, High Legh, had no case to answer.
Claire Marsh, prosecuting, told the court that the 56-year-old debt management advisor smelt of alcohol, had been swerving in the road, and told the arresting officer she’d had ‘three pints of shandy’, when her mini cooper was pulled over at 1.15am in Groby Road, Altrincham, on May 18.
But on Thursday, September 5, Mr Oultram, defending, successfully drew on an obscure piece of 1990s divisional court case law that left magistrates with no alternative but to drop charges.
The divorced mother blew 42 mg of alcohol per 100 ml during a breathalyser test – the legal limit being 35.
Using Rush vs DPP  RTR 268, Mr Oultram argued that her decision to reject a blood test at Pendleton Police Station a short time later was based on incorrect information given to her by the arresting traffic officer.
Magistrates were played an audio recording from the police station, wherein PC Robert Sharpe of the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) Road Policing Unit said blood test results were not allowed a degree of tolerance, compared to GMP’s policy of not prosecuting positive breath tests below 39mg.
Mr Oultram argued this information was incorrect, and should not have been offered in any event, because officers are only supposed to offer the choice of a blood test – not advise.
“If I was to ask you about blood then, with respect, you wouldn’t know what you are talking about. Any advice you give on that decision wouldn’t be right would it?”
PC Sharpe responded: “I don’t believe that in any way I have tried to talk the defendant into not taking a blood sample. This conversation is taking place in early in the morning with someone who is distressed.
“I’ve tried to explain it as simply as possible in layman’s terms. I’m not a robot. It’s not the case that I’ve tried to sway the defendant either way.”
Pc Sharpe maintained that in any event - Ms Williams had been caught swerving in the road and found to be over the drink drive limit.
However, Magistrates chair David Collins threw the case out, saying: “Having looked at what the officer said regarding tolerances, we do find the defendant might have been influenced by this, and agree that it’s unsafe to continue.”
Speaking afterwards on behalf of Ms Williams, Mr Oultram said: ““Although she’s delighted with the result today, she doesn’t condone people who drive with excess alcohol, and she realises how serious that offence is.
Ms Williams added: “The whole thing has been a nightmare – horrendous; absolutely awful. It’s had a massive affect on my health.”
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