ONE of Britain’s top cancer research doctors has been banned from driving after getting behind the wheel over the limit.
Dr Christopher Nutting was caught more than twice the legal limit after police spotted him ‘swerving’ in the road.
Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court heard the 49-year-old had been attempting to travel to London on the night of February 4 after lunch with his family earlier that day.
He was stopped by police on the A3 in Petersfield, with breath test results showing he had 87 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The limit is 35.
Leading oncologist Nutting, of Marsh Lane, in Runcton near Chichester, is the principle investigator for a number of key research trials, including at Cancer Research UK.
The doctor – who was educated at Portsmouth Grammar School – has led the head and neck unit at The Royal Marsden since 2002.
When the wine is in the wit is out. He should have known better.Colin Knott, defence solicitor
He was appointed national clinical lead in head and neck cancer by the Department of Health and the Cancer Services Collaborative in 2003.
He is also the chairman of the National Cancer Research Institute Committee for head and neck cancer.
Defending, Colin Knott described Nutting as a ‘good servant to the community’ with an ‘unblemished record’.
Mr Knott told the court: ‘He is a genuinely useful and industrious member of society. Ordinarily he does things in the right way,
‘We’re all entitled to make one serious error of judgement in life and he made it the night he got into that car.’
Nutting remained silent in the dock as the court heard how he had attended a family do on the day of his arrest.
Mr Knott said his client had been drinking wine throughout the day until about 5pm and had intended to drive to work the following morning.
But he said at 9pm Nutting saw reports of major travel disruption on the news for the following day – disruptions that could derail a ‘very important meeting’ he was due to attend in the morning.
‘When the wine is in the wit is out,’ said Mr Knott. ‘He should have known better.
‘But it was many hours after he stopped drinking.
‘He had a sense of responsibility and duty, he didn’t want to have problems and he got in the car – he drove.’
District judge Anthony Callaway said: ‘The reality is the reading in this case was more than twice the limit.
‘One has to recognise your position in society as a person who should do the right thing. That wasn’t the right thing.’
Nutting admitted drink-driving. He was fined £3,000 and banned for 18 months.
He must pay £85 costs.