Magistrates admit not jailing regular offender is ‘madness’

MAGISTRATES admitted to probably being seen as “mad” for not jailing a drink-driver who had so many bans that they had “lost count”.

Edward Dolan was already serving a five-year driving ban when he was found asleep in a parked Mercedes.

Paramedics called to the scene feared he had had a cardiac arrest at the wheel. He had actually fallen asleep drunk.

Last Thursday, Spalding magistrates said they had “lost count” of the number of times Dolan had been disqualified as they handed him a 26-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months. The 36-year-old, of Bridge Road, Sutton Bridge, must also complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

Rebecca Ritson, prosecuting, said emergency services were deployed to Bridge Road at about 12.40am.

She told the court Dolan was found in the car with blood on his lips and hands, glazed eyes and was slurring. A firefighter was reported to have removed the keys from the car after Dolan became aggressive.

Miss Ritson described Dolan as “unsteady” on his feet when he was arrested, and said he was “slumped” in the seat of the police car.

She said he later failed to give a breath sample and was taken to a cell when he started swearing at officers.

Miss Ritson told the court Dolan was disqualified from driving for five years in 2009 and is currently under curfew with an electronic tag.

He was also found to have no car insurance.

Rachel Stevens, defending, said Dolan had got in the car because his one-year-old baby had been taken to hospital with breathing difficulties.

“His girlfriend was quite insistent that he came to the hospital,” she said. “He phoned a few friends to see if he could get a lift.”

Miss Stevens said Dolan had no intention to drive when he started drinking and playing cards with friends earlier that night. She said he failed to find a lift so took his partner’s car keys and drove “a very short distance” along Bridge Road before he realised he was not fit to drive. He fell asleep in the car and was woken up by paramedics.

Miss Stevens also handed magistrates several character references from his elderly neighbours.

Sentencing, magistrate Ian McDonnall told Dolan: “If we went fully on your previous record, any other bench may think we are mad not sending you to prison.

“Your mitigation has saved you to a certain degree and we have taken into account the distance you drove.”

However, Mr McDonnall said it did not excuse what Dolan had done.