ONE of the navy’s senior nuclear submarine lecturers has been rapped after he was caught almost three times the drink-drive limit.
Lieutenant Timothy Courtney’s ‘unblemished career’ with the Senior Service hangs in the balance after he pleaded guilty to the crime.
The experienced sailor – with 22 years of naval service under his belt – was caught as he drove into work at HMS Sultan.
Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court heard the 45-year-old had been drinking heavily the night before but decided to drive into work at 8am the next day, on December 18, prosecutor Graham Heath said.
‘He had been driving in Military Road, Gosport, when he was stopped at the base,’ he told the court. ‘He said he had been drinking the night before.
‘He was found with 95 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.’
Courtney, who has been the future training officer (submarines) at HMS Sultan since 2014 and former senior lecturer in reactor physics at the base before that, shook as he stood in the dock.
Defending, Damian Hayes said the sailor, of Salt Meat Lane, had been through a tough period and was battling PTSD from his naval service and was remorseful.
‘It’s rather a sad little case,’ he said. ‘He is 45 years of age, divorced and serving in the Royal Navy, commissioned from the ranks with 22 years to his name.
‘The crux that brought matters to a head was the fact that he had been expecting to spend some time with his son.
‘He was going through a difficult divorce and his estranged wife pulled the plug on that (plan).’
But magistrate Giacomo Mosca was baffled by the sailor’s actions.
He said: ‘You have an unblemished record. You’re an outstanding citizen. But alcohol and four wheels should never be mixed.’
Courtney was disqualified from driving for two years, fined £600 and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.
A Royal Navy spokesman gave no details on what ramifications Courtney’s sentencing could have. But he said: ‘We will now consider the effect of this conviction on his career. Any action taken is a private matter between him and his employer.’