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Pinchbeck drink-driver is former magistrate

A former magistrate has received a suspended sentence and a four-year driving ban for drink-driving.

Alison Justine MacDonald was more than three times the limit when she was stopped by a member of the public in Pinchbeck just before Christmas.

MacDonald – a healthcare support worker in the NHS – told Boston Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday that she was considering going into rehabilitation again to address her alcohol issues.

Boston Magistrates' Court
Boston Magistrates' Court

Prosecutor Shelley Wilson described how MacDonald was prevented from driving further in Wardentree Lane at about 3.30pm on December 16.

She said: “A member of the public was driving behind her and became concerned about her as she was swaying across the road. Basically they flagged her down and found her to be the only occupant. She appeared to be drunk. That person took the keys. When police arrived they found the defendant to appear to be intoxicated and unsteady on her feet.”

MacDonald failed a roadside breath test and was arrested. An evidential test in custody gave a reading of 123 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath; the legal limit being 35.

In police interview, the 49-year-old said she had drunk half a bottle of wine about 1pm that day prior to driving on the A16.

The court was told that MacDonald, who pleaded guilty to drink-driving, had a conviction for failing to provide a specimenin 2017. That triggered a mandatory minimum 36-month ban for a second drink-related motoring offence within a ten-year period.

MacDonald, who was not represented in court, said: “I was just absolutely stupid.

“I can give many reasons why I drank but none of them are an excuse for what I’ve done I’m only thankful that the only harm is to myself in being here today and that I didn’t cause an accident.

“I’m just really sorry for what I’ve done.”

She said she had been in drink rehab three times previously and would consider it again.

District Judge Peter Veits told the defendant the starting point for her level of offending was 12 weeks’ custody.

“It’s exacerbated by the very high reading, the previous conviction in 2017 and the fact you took the drink-drive rehabilitation course last time,” he added. “I find it hard to move away from what the guidelines say but I’m prepared to move away to give you a chance to address your alcohol problem. The important thing now is to get the help you need.”

MacDonald, of George Street, Louth, was given eight weeks’ custody, suspended for one year, and disqualified from driving for 48 months. She was also ordered to pay £122 victim surcharge and £85 costs.

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