Businessman breathalysed after cup final

editorial image

A WIGAN businessman who was caught behind the wheel while nearly double the drink drive limit blamed cough medicine containing alcohol for his error.

Company director Darren Halliwell made the astonishing claim after he was stopped by police driving his white BMW along Scholes following Wigan Athletic’s historic FA Cup final victory on May 11.

Wigan Magistrates’ Court heard how the 46-year-old failed a breath test at the roadside at about 8.30pm and was subsequently found to have 69mg of booze per 100ml of breath after providing a further specimen at the police station. The legal limit is 35.

Martin Jones, defending Halliwell, said tests had shown that two 20ml doses of Benylin chesty cough medicine contained the same amount of alcohol as a single measure of spirits.

He told how the defendant had only returned to the UK the previous day and was suffering from a combination of jet leg and illness at the time.

Unable to sleep, he said his client had decided to drink into the early hours of the morning.

But Halliwell was adamant that he had not consumed any booze for the remainder of the day - apart from the alcohol contained in several doses of Benylin.

Mr Jones told how his client, a director of a company which employs a dozen people, had stayed at his home on Lower House Farm, Wigan Road, Aspull, to watch the FA Cup Final during the evening before setting out to a friend’s house in his car - believing he was fit to drive.

He asked Magistrates to take into account the defendant’s co-operation with the police and subsequent guilty plea.

Magistrates banned Halliwell from driving for 12 months, but offered him the drink driver rehabilitation course - which could see his ban reduced.

They also fined him £800 and ordered him to pay £85 towards court costs and an £80 victim surcharge.