Country and Western singer forced into early retirement after drink-driving home from Barrow gig

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Hearing: The Magistrates' Court in Carlisle
Hearing: The Magistrates' Court in Carlisle
6 October 2017 2:12PM

A PART-TIME country and western singer will be forced into a temporary retirement after he was caught over the drink-drive limit in his car.

Carlisle Magistrates' Court heard that Stephen John McGuire, 57, landed himself in trouble as he returned from a gig in Barrow, pulling into a layby at the side of the A685 near Kirkby Stephen, and arousing the suspicion of passing police officers.

A breath-test revealed he was just over the drink-drive limit.

Prosecutor John Moran said police spotted the defendant at 1.15am as he sat in his Renault Megane. The officers noticed McGuire move his car a short distance and decided to check out the driver. “They could smell alcohol on his breath,” said Mr Moran.

“They found some alcohol in the car – half a can of beer; and a small hip flask with alcohol. This defendant has a previous drink-driving on his record... in 1998. It's an aggravating feature, as is a dangerous driving conviction in 2002.”

The breath test revealed the defendant had 40mcg of alcohol in 100mls of breath. The legal alcohol limit is 35mcg.

Gail Heard, defending for McGuire, whose day job is as a maintenance engineer, told the court: “He's also a country and western singer.

“He was working in Barrow on the evening in question and returning home to Durham. He describes having two pints during the course of the evening as he was working. The hip flask in his vehicle is part and parcel of his act.

“It's something that goes with country and western events.”

McGuire had won four cans of lager in a raffle at the concert and opened one at the roadside so he could have a few sips of it as he ate a sandwich, said the lawyer. Miss Heard said McGuire accepted responsibility for his actions.

She added: “He's a married man who works part-time as a singer but that employment will not now be open to him due to the disqualification because the events he goes to are far and wide and he has to take his equipment.

“His income will drop by £300 to £400 per month as a result of the disqualification.”

Deputy District Judge Zoe Passfield imposed a £240 fine, with £85 prosecution costs, and a £30 victim surcharge. In addition, the defendant, of Pennine Court, Stanley, Durham, was banned for 12 months. He was offered a drink-drivers' rehabilitation course.

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