YT mentioned it last month. They drink drivers were packing out Basildon Magistrates Court in December. Most were repentant and distraught. The ban meant they faced unemployment and ruin.
Others had that typical look of entitlement on their faces.
Watching district judge John Woollard in operation, brought confidence in the criminal justice system. One persistent offender was given 21 weeks. He also took time out to question the maximum sentence of six months.
On other occasions, YT saw a man from South Ockendon, be caught twice in a month. On the second occasion, he called the police liars, refused the roadside test, refused the blood test. During deliberation, the clerk of the court, reminds the chair of magistrates reminds that “this case falls into the highest category”, i.e: six months in prison.
The magistrate decided to give him another ban. He also gives him eighty hours of unpaid work. To which the man (Richard Ince) questions from the dock.
With no money for a drink driving advertsing campaign and cuts to police numbers, it was hardly surprising that a higher proportion of Essex drivers given breath tests this Christmas were over the drink-drive limit.
Police tested fewer drivers over the Christmas period than they did last year, but the figures show one driver in 26 failed the test. In 2010, one in 28 was over the limit.
A total of 3,180 drivers have been tested so far in December, with 120 of them failing the test. Men accounted for 102 of those caught out. During the equivalent period last year, police carried out 5,000 tests, with 180 drivers failing.
However in 2009, 237 of the 5,000 drivers tested were over the limit – a failure rate of one in 21.
We will be back in the courts come Tuesday. We will see what happens then.