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Kingston Councillor Lynne Finnerty says sorry over one year drink-driving ban
A councillor has been banned from driving for a year after being caught behind the wheel while over the drink-drive limit.
Kingston Councillor Lynne Finnerty, who represents Coombe vale ward, was pulled over in her Fiat and arrested by police officers in Coombe Lane West, just before 11.30pm on July 9.
She was breathalysed and a blood sample taken found the 59-year-old mother had 94mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood in her system.
That is only just over the drink-drive limit of 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
Coun Finnerty, who appeared at Lavender Hill Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday without any legal representation, quietly pleaded guilty and seemed shaken when she stood in the dock dressed in a black top and flowery white skirt.
She said: “I would like to apologise. I had two glasses of wine. I realise that they were large measures and I made a genuine mistake. I would never knowingly go over the limit and risk the serious consequences.
“Every time I go out my husband or my son pick me up but on this occasion it was unplanned. I’m sorry. I’m very nervous. I am shocked at the repercussion of that one genuine mistake and I’m sorry.”
The court was told of Coun Finnerty’s previous good character and clean record. She also handed in a reference for the magistrate to read.
Coun Finnerty, of Chestnut Grove in New Malden, was given the most lenient sentence of 12 months’ disqualification from driving, a £200 fine, £85 in costs and £20 in victim surcharge costs to pay.
She was also offered the opportunity to take part in a drink-driving rehabilitation programme that would reduce her time off the roads to nine months if completed by April 17.
Conservative leader Councillor Howard Jones said: “Everybody makes a mistake in life and I think Lynne has realised. She has accepted her punishment. She has not tried to make any excuses.
“She is a terrific councillor. She works extremely hard for her residents and is a person of high integrity and great moral values.
“She has assured me and others that it will never happen again and that is the sort of person she is. We have got the utmost confidence in her.”
She was among six other people on the court list for drink-driving charges on the same day.
Coun Finnerty, who attended court with her husband, has always championed safety on roads.
Speaking after the sentencing, Coun Finnerty said: “I pleaded guilty so that is the minimum ban. That was the ban I was expecting.
“I have learned a valuable and tough personal lesson. I have had it hanging over me for weeks but it is something I have to take responsibility for.”
She added that she now realised that the measures of alcohol must have been large measures but she did not know at the time.
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