Swann cleared off drunk-driving charge

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Published: Thursday, February 17, 2011, 11:28 [IST]
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London, Feb 17: England off-spinner Graeme Swann has been cleared of a drink-driving case involving a late-night bid to rescue a trapped cat.

Swann had earlier told the court that he had returned to his four-bedroom home in West Bridgford, Nottingham, following his birthday celebrations last April to discover that his nine-month-old cat Max was trapped under the floorboards.

He claimed that he jumped into his white Porsche Cayenne "in a panic" and drove to a 24-hour Asda to buy tools to loosen the boards.

The 31-year-old was, however, stopped by police at 3a.m.

Swann gave two blood samples, and a reading of 83mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood was taken from the second. The legal limit is 80mg per 100ml.

Legal guidelines state that the reading should have been taken from the first sample.

Police said that the second was used because there was not enough blood in the first, but a forensic alcohol consultant told the court the original two ml was "ample".

Ruling in Swann's favour, district judge Julia Newton said that it had not been proven that the blood sample could be used as evidence.

"I cannot be sure the two millilitre sample was insufficient or incapable of analysis by ordinary means. It may have been possible to analyse. Therefore on the specific facts of this case I am not sure the crown can rely on the second sample of blood. The burden of proof is on the crown to prove the first sample was incapable of analysis," Newton said.

Meanwhile, Nottinghamshire Police Chief Inspector Andrew Charlton said that his department respects the decision, but was disappointed that a very technical piece of legislation allowed the case to not go ahead and prevented a conviction.

"He has retained his licence on this occasion which is good for his career, but hopefully he will learn from this experience and never repeat this behaviour again," the Daily Mail quoted Charlton, as saying.

"We hope the message goes that drink-driving is not acceptable no matter who you are. Swann is entitled to use the law to its fullest extent, as anyone is," he added.


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