Drink-driver blames mum for missing court hearing
11:35am Friday 13th September 2013 in News
A 32-year-old Llandeilo has been hit with an eye-watering £2,700 bill on top of a three-year driving ban after he admitted failing to appear at court for a drink-drive hearing.
Bernard John Roberts, of 19 Heol y Garreg Las, had been bailed to appear before Llanelli magistrates on September 5 accused of driving an Audi A4 on the A483 at Pontarddulais on November 9, 2012, while over the alcohol limit.
Tests taken at the time showed he had 48 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 35.
Roberts initially denied the charge and hired an expert witness to support his claim.
However, when he failed to attend the hearing on September 5, a warrant was issued by magistrates and he was brought before the court next day.
Roberts, who is also due to appear in court at a separate hearing to answer charges of using a mobile phone while driving, told magistrates that he currently worked out of the area and relied on his mother to monitor his mail.
Representing himself in court, Roberts said: “My mother phoned to tell me she had received notification that the date of my court hearing had changed.
“She told me the case had moved to September 11.”
Roberts claimed she had confused the two court appearances and that it was the hearing for the mobile phone charge which had moved, not – as he had wrongly assumed – the September 5 drink-drive hearing.
He told the court that because of the confusion he had been forced to cancel his expert witness at a cost of £1,700.
At the hearing on September 6, Roberts changed his plea to guilty and was banned from driving for three years, fined £400 and ordered to pay £300 court costs and a £40 victim surcharge.
In relation to his failure to appear at court on September 5, he was fined £250 and ordered to pay a £25 surcharge.