HGV driver blames ‘hypnotic’ state for refusing to give breath sample
A veteran who refused to co-operate with police said he couldn’t remember anything because he was suffering from a dissociative disorder. Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard how officers were called to a house in Darlington where there were concerns over a potential domestic incident. It was suspected that Kenneth Williams, 51, of Botham Grove had been drinking and he was arrested on suspicion of drink driving.
However, the court heard that once arrested Williams, a HGV driver and trainer, refused to speak to police and refused to give a breath test. He denied the charge of failing to provide a specimen saying he had suffered a dissociative fugue, which is a temporary state where a person has memory loss. READ MORE: Man on trial accused of raping girl allegedly told her he was ‘practising for when he got a girlfriend’
Anne Mitchell, prosecuting, said police were called to a house on January 16 this year following reports of shouting and banging on the door and when they arrived the defendant refused to let them in and was obstructive. There was also a smell of alcohol. She said there was a car nearby, belonging to the defendant, which looked like it had been abandoned.
Williams was arrested on suspicion of drink driving and taken to the police station. Ms Mitchell said: “He was asked on four occasions to provide two specimens of breath. He refused to answer any questions and refused to provide a sample.”
PC Ben Emmerson, of Durham Police, who tried to take the sample readings at the police station, said: “He remained silent while I was asking the questions. I do believe he had full understanding of what was being asked of him.” He said although Williams remained silent he did comply with physical instructions such as removing his belt and other items.
PC Emmerson said: “I had no concerns of his ability to understand or anything of that nature.” Williams told the court he was ex-military and had served in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Kosovo and suffered PTSD. He said in 2014 he had suffered an incident of a dissociative fugue, during which he had thrown his medals at a war memorial.
He said on the night of the incident in January he had been under a lot of stress and a phone call from his adult daughter who was upset claiming her mum and her partner were taking drugs in the house made him ‘just snap’. He said: “It is very difficult to explain, you just snap and it is like being in an hypnotic state. It absolutely terrified me when it happened.”
Williams said he had no memory of the evening’s events, but said he had not had a drink at all that day. He said: “It is something I would never do. I am a professional driving instructor.
I am an HGV driver. I would not put myself and other drivers at risk. I would never do that.”
On finding Williams guilty, District Judge Steven Hood said the evidence showed Williams talking to the officers at the house about why he was there and that he understood instructions to take off his belt and other items.
Williams was fined GBP525 and ordered to pay GBP620 costs and a victim surcharge of GBP53 and was banned from driving for 14 months.