The Criminal Cases Review Commission has referred the drink driving conviction of William Smith to the County Court in Northern Ireland.
Mr Smith was convicted in his absence at Belfast Magistrates Court in June 2011 in relation to a drink driving offence committed in July 2005. He was fined £400 and banned from driving for 12 months.
Mr Smith was arrested on a money warrant on New Year’s Eve 2011 due to non-payment of the fine and was taken directly to prison where he spent six days.
Shortly after his release Mr Smith tried to appeal against his conviction but his application for appeal was rejected. He applied to the CCRC in March 2015.
Having reviewed the case in detail, the Commission has decided to refer Mr Smith’s drink driving conviction for appeal because it considers there is a real possibility that the Court will quash the conviction. The referral is based on new evidence that Mr Smith, who has never held a full driving licence, was not in the car stopped by police and was not the person who failed the breathalyser test in July 2005, and that another identified individual was driving the car at the time.
Mr Smith was represented in his application to the CCRC by Patricia Coyle of Harte Coyle Solicitors Ground Floor, The Sturgeon Building 9-15 Queen Street, Belfast, BT1 6EA.
Patricia Coyle representing Mr Smith said today;
” We are delighted with the CCRC decision to refer this erroneous conviction back to the Court in Northern Ireland. While on the face of it this is a minor Magistrates Court conviction and penalty, the practical consequences which involved an arrest on sight and 6 days detention in Maghaberry jail for an offence our client did not commit when the authorities would not listen to his protestations of innocence, were very upsetting for him. We look forward to having the court record corrected for our client.”
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