Drink-driver from Northampton '˜held unlawfully by police for three days', claims solicitor

A teenager was wrongly held by Northamptonshire Police in custody for three days after a mix-up by the authorities.

Tuesday, 26th April 2016, 10:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 26th April 2016, 11:04 am

Robert Feast, aged 19, was charged with driving while over the alcohol limit in the early hours of March 12 this year.

He was subsequently told he must appear at Northampton Magistrates’ Court and duly did so, only for court staff to tell him his case was not listed. He also tried Northampton Crown Court and was told the same.

However, Feast was surprised to then be taken in by officers on Friday, April 22 for failing to attend court. He was still in custody yesterday afternoon, when he finally appeared before magistrates.

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His solicitor, Ben Brown, confirmed to the court his client was admitting the drink-drive offence, but pointed out he had done nothing that merited being held for so long.

He said: “He has been in custody 72 hours up to this morning and, despite my efforts, has remained in custody for a further six hours today.

“This is a gentleman who has never troubled the courts before and this is [the equivalent of] a six-day prison sentence.

“I will be giving my client advice about how to make a claim against the police for unlawful detention.”

Feast was arrested for drink-driving after being pulled over in Victoria Promenade, Northampton.

He blew 74mg of alcohol per 100ml breath at the roadside and later gave a further reading over the legal limit to drive when taken to the police station.

In court yesterday, Mr Brown said Feast had had drunk two pints and blamed the high reading on drinking on an empty stomach.

He added that Feast had left a three-hour gap between his last drink and getting in the car, but said his client fully admitted he must have been over the limit.

Chair of the bench, Janet Denman, acknowledged that Feast had spent time in custody, but did not adjust the sentence she handed him.

She fined him £100 and banned him from driving for 18 months.