A SAILING instructor caught driving with more than twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system claims the whole incident was a mystery.
Simon Layton appeared at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court after driving with 281mg of alcohol per 100ml of urine – the limit is 107mg.
The 45-year-old pleaded guilty to driving a motor-vehicle with excessive alcohol on August 10 this year.
But Kate Watts, defending, said the whole incident was a mystery to Layton.
‘The defendant stands by what he said in the police interview that it’s a mystery to him,’ she said.
‘He does not recall drinking any alcohol.
‘He did have some apple juice with his lunch but he was not aware there was any alcohol in it.’
Ms Watts added that Layton, in Mumby Road, Gosport, had been working a lot of hours prior to the incident.
She said: ‘He had been working long shifts and it could be the fatigue of that which led to the forgetfulness that night.’
The court heard from Ms Watts that Layton works full time as a sailing instructor and is hoping to start his own sea school.
She said losing his licence would affect his job as he often works unusual shifts when public transport is not available. ‘It is out of character for him,’ she added.
‘He is responsible for teaching children how to sail and wants to start his own sailing school.
‘Because of his unusual hours and shift patterns, there could be no public transport available to him when he comes in from sea.’
The court heard from prosecutor Nick Hoyle that Layton was seen in Priory Crescent, Southsea, at around 3.20pm unsteady on his feet next to his car and slurring his words.
Mr Hoyle said: ‘His car had significant damage and there was a collision with a parked vehicle.’
Layton was disqualified from driving for 22 months by the magistrates.
He was also fined £350 for the offence and told to pay a victim surcharge of £35 and £85 court courts.
He must also pay £150 criminal court charge.
Layton was offered a drink-driving course which could reduce his driving ban by 23 weeks.