Solicitor given three-year ban

A SOLICITOR was banned from driving for three years after being caught behind the wheel nearly four times the drink-drive limit. James Whitehead, 59, who was said to be suffering from depression, drank so much during a weekend that he was still massively

A SOLICITOR was banned from driving for three years after being caught behind the wheel nearly four times the drink-drive limit.

James Whitehead, 59, who was said to be suffering from depression, drank so much during a weekend that he was still massively over the limit when he was stopped in Tebbutts Road, St Neots, on Monday, February 19.

Representing Whitehead, Frank Squire told Peterborough Magistrates' Court how a letter from a psychiatric help group had triggered the weekend of bingeing.

Mr Squire said his client had suffered nervous breakdowns in 1998 and at the end of 2006, the latest caused when his relationship broke down.


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He said Whitehead was "deeply ashamed... and painfully aware this episode will bring disgrace to the end of a long and distinguished career."

In addition to the driving ban, Whitehead, of Meadow Road, Great Gransden, was on Monday handed a 12-week jail sentence, suspended for 12 months.

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The court heard that Whitehead had driven to meet a friend at the Priory in St Neots but the friend did not arrive. He drank a glass of wine before getting into his car to drive home.

A member of the public tipped off police, who tracked Whitehead's silver Mini Cooper on CCTV before stopping him.

Although fully co-operative, Whitehead had trouble standing when he was taken to the police station. He recorded a reading of 131 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 micrograms.

As well as being a practising solicitor, Whitehead has previously served as a local councillor, school governor and PTA secretary.

District Judge Ken Sheraton told Whitehead his alcohol reading was so high that the offence warranted a custodial sentence but his previous good character meant his jail time could be suspended.

He was ordered to pay £60 prosecution costs and ordered to attend alcohol awareness sessions as part of a 12-month supervision order.

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