Cardiff Magistrates Court
Cardiff Magistrates Court

‘I wasn’t driving, I was reversing,’ says man who spent New Year in a police cell

Driver was so far over alcohol limit the breathalyser machine had to be reset

A RIVERSIDE man found behind the wheel after a New Year’s Eve party told police he was reversing, not driving, Cardiff magistrates heard.

Sunday Ken, of De Burgh Street, was approached by officers on Archer Road, Ely, after a woman rang to say she had seen him reverse into a van.

He insisted that although he was drunk, he had not been driving.

“I reversed back, I was not driving,” Ken told Constable Kieran Bratton at the time.

Prosecutor Robert Reid told the court on February 21 that “reversing in the car falls in the definition of driving”.

PC Bratton said that Ken declined to give a roadside breath sample, so he was taken to the police station to be breathalysed.  

The officer said the level of alcohol on Ken’s breath was so high when he entered the room that he had to reset the machine several times before performing the test.

“That was the first time I have ever seen that,” PC Bratton told the court.

Ken’s eventual reading was 127 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath, more than three times the UK legal limit of 35 micrograms.

The defendant, who represented himself in court, told magistrates that he had not turned the engine on, and he was in the car searching for “a mobile to call a taxi”.

He said the only reason he admitted to reversing the car was that he thought the police might let him go and because he felt “confused”.

Constable Amy Harris said: “You were seen to be driving a vehicle and under the influence of alcohol.”

Ken said: “I was not driving.”

PC Harris said: “I disagree based on the comment you told me, which is that you were reversing.”

Prior to his arrest, Ken accused the police of being racist as they had not checked whether there was any damage to either vehicle before asking for his details.

Ken asked PC Keiran Bratton: “Officer, when you came to me the first thing you asked is to step out of the vehicle. You did not know the car was damaged. Do you have any evidence that my car was damaged?

“I was shouting ‘this is racist’ because I had not done anything wrong.”

Magistrate Elaine Farthing said: “We find Mr Ken guilty because of the comments you were making at the time. We assure that you were driving the vehicle.”

Ken was disqualified from driving for 29 months, ordered to do 200 hours of community work and must pay £620 court costs with a surcharge of £114.