Friday, January 19, 2018

Permit suspended: $800 fine for ‘designated driver’

Crashed into parked police vehicles


‘PEER PRESSURE’: Matthius Guischard leaves the San Fernando Magistrates’ Court yesterday. —Photo: INNIS FRANCIS

Mark Fraser

A “designated driver”, caught driving drunk after crashing into two police patrol vehicles parked outside Mon Repos Police Station, was disqualified from driving and fined by the court yesterday.

Matthius Guischard, 22, of Moruga, was arrested at around 4.35 a.m. on Sunday after he and two friends left a party in Princes Town.

Guischard appeared in the San Fernando Traffic Court yesterday.

Court prosecutor Parasan Ramsumair said according to Guischard, he drank a beer and a half.

However, he was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and driving without due care and attention, after a breathalyser test recorded a reading of 46 microgrammes the first time, and 43 the second time they were administered.

The prescribed legal limit is 35 microgrammes.

Defence attorney Subash Panday asked that Magistrate Rehanna Hosein be lenient and impose a non-custodial sentence on the man, and make him pay by doing community service.  

Panday said Guischard was only over the prescribed limit by eight per cent and was made the designated driver for the night, but was also pressured into accepting a drink.

“If you reduce the penalty, we can use him to help society. He can go to schools to help children understand the consequences, to prevent it from happening to other people,” said Panday.

“Under peer pressure he accepted. He drank a beer and a half, but it was so bitter he could not complete the second one.”

Magistrate Hosein responded:

“I don’t believe the explanation. He drank the first (beer) and moved to the second. He crashed into two police vehicles and caused extensive damages.

“This matter is not for community service and it should be a guide to others not to do what he did.”

Magistrate Hosein ordered Guischard’s driver’s permit be suspended for eight months.

For driving without due care and attention, he had to pay $800 or serve three months’ imprisonment, and for driving under the influence of alcohol, Guischard was fined $3,000, or serve nine months.

He paid $1,000 forthwith and given until March 10 to pay the remainder.

—Innis Francis