September 21 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
A three-time drink-driver has been spared prison after police saw him on a drunken early morning jaunt in a mobility scooter.
Able-bodied Edward Van Bishop, of Woodbridge Road, Ipswich, was disqualified from driving for three years after being more than twice the limit during his third offence in five years.
At the time Bishop was still disqualified from driving from a previous sentence he received at Ipswich Crown Court in 2012.
The 23-year-old’s solicitor, Mark Holt, told South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court: “Fundamentally he would say it was a stupid, foolish prank.”
Previously in mitigation Mr Holt said: “It was a mobility scooter ridden on the pathway. It seems when police approached Mr Van Bishop it was not (about) the manner of his driving and the safety of other people.
“They suspected it may be stolen. It was not stolen. I think it may have been purchased for his mother.”
The court heard Van Bishop would contend he was messing around with his friends on the path and was unaware he was not allowed to be riding the scooter while drunk.
Van Bishop had been seen riding on the path by a plain clothes detective sergeant in an unmarked police car in Woodbridge Road East at around 2.10am on April 21.
Prosecutor Wayne Ablett told the court when Van Bishop was stopped and spoken to he said he just enjoyed riding the scooter, but did not need the use of it.
Subsequently another police sergeant confirmed he had seen Van Bishop 30 minutes earlier driving the mobility scooter in Woodbridge Road.
After being arrested Van Bishop was given a breath test. It showed he had 79 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 mcgs.
The court heard Van Bishop had previous drink-driving convictions in 2009 and 2012. However, due to the nature of the vehicle he was riding during his latest offence he could not be charged with driving while disqualified.
Sentencing Van Bishop, District Judge Celia Dawson said: “Mobility scooters used on the pavement by someone who has got a high alcohol reading are dangerous to the public. It puts the person who has got the mobility scooter in very close proximity to pedestrians.”
Van Bishop – who had pleaded guilty to drink-driving at an earlier hearing – was sentenced to 12 weeks’ imprisonment suspended for 12 months.
He must also pay £85 costs and £80 to the victims’ fund.