A man who was caught driving while ‘catastrophically drunk’ claimed that he couldn’t have taken a taxi because he had a horse with him.
Walter Jacob Stewart, a top show jumper, from Coleraine, Northern Ireland, was stopped by police after a driver reported his car and horsebox swerving all over the road. The car was reportedly driving on the wrong side of the road, making oncoming traffic swerve to avoid the sozzled driver.
The prosecution told Coleraine Magistrates Court that when officers pulled over Stewart, he stank of booze and was unsteady on his feet. When tested it was discovered he had an alcohol/breath reading of 91. The legal limit is just 35.
Stewart’s lawyer defended his actions saying he’d been with his brother to buy a showjumping horse and met the people involved at a restaurant. But after an argument with his brother, who was meant to have been driving, Stewart ‘was left with the horse, horsebox and jeep’.
She claims that Stewart was on his way home and thought he was fine to drive. He also said that he would have got a taxi ‘but for the fact he had a horse in a horsebox’.
The lawyer claims a tyre blowout on the horsebox made driving difficult and contributed to the poor standard of driving. She added Stewart wished to apologise to the court and the public for his ‘foolish and stupid actions’ and the risk he had put himself and other drivers in.
Deputy District Judge Sean O’Hare said Stewart was ‘catastrophically drunk’ and there was no way he should have been anywhere near a vehicle with the amount of alcohol he had consumed.
The judge added: ‘It is a very very high reading and a very bad piece of driving’ and banned Stewart from driving for 8 months and fined him £500.