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Drink driving

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One thing I have found since specialising in motoring law is that it is an area that is poorly understood by many people, criminal lawyers and judges included. I have heard comments from fellow solicitors that include, “I don’t need any papers to advise him about his case, it’s only drink driving.” And, “there are no defences to drink driving.” Most worryingly I’ve heard more than one court legal adviser tell their magistrates that “it is impossible to avoid a driving ban following a drink driving conviction.” None of these things are true and I hope, through a series of blog posts, to give a brief glimpse into the law of motor vehicles and alcohol.


In this first post I think it’s worth spelling out exactly what drink driving is and what needs to be proven to secure a conviction.


The first thing to know is that there are two different types of drink driving and they require the prosecution to prove different things. We’ll start with the older version of the offence, driving while unfit …

How did a vicious attacker get off so lightly?

Above is the video of an assault on a police officer. As the video explains, the police saw an incident as somebody was ejected from a bar and went to see what was happening. As PC GIlder was dealing with a man another man ran up behind him and punched him to the back of the head knocking the officer unconscious. The attacker was fined £165, which by any stretch of the imagination seems unjustifiably lenient especially when viewed against sentences recently imposed for far less serious assaults on politicians.


The story has been picked up by several news outlets including the Daily Star and the Sun newspapers. Unsurprisingly all of the reports criticise the very lenient sentence imposed on this attacker.


Interestingly though, none of the reports name the man and all of the reports give broadly the same information that appears to have been lifted entirely from the video above and presumably a press release that accompanied it. This does give the impression that the reports are all ba…

Dr Evil - the demon tattooist of Wolverhampton

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Brendan McCarthy, who self-styles himself Dr Evil, has entered a guilty plea to causing grievous bodily harm on several people. There’s nothing exceptional about that, except that all of Dr Evil’s victims not only asked to be seriously wounded… they actually paid for the privilege!
Mr McCarthy is a tattoo artist from Wolverhampton who offered body modification to his customers. This includes tattoos, piercings and tongue splitting as well as genital beading, ear modifications and nipple removal. It seems to have been the tongue splitting, ear modification and nipple removals that formed the basis of the case against him.

Dr Evil was charged with assault occasioning grievous bodily harm, which is an offence contrary to sections 18 and 20 of the Offence Against the Person Act 1861; I gather from the press reports that Mr McCarthy was charged with the more serious version under section 18, which reads,
“Whosoever shall unlawfully and maliciously by any means whatsoever wound or cause any…