GRAND COURT: Appellant wants to drive

Mr. Justice Alex Henderson heard an appeal last week from a man who was disqualified from driving by a magistrate in the Summary Court.

The man had pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol. He admitted a blood-alcohol level of .256, more than two and a half times the legal limit of .100.

In August, he was disqualified for two years.

After Hurricane Ivan struck Cayman 11-12 September, the man attended Grand Court and asked permission to appeal his sentence although the time limit had passed.

He presented a letter from his employer stating that he needed to be able to drive to assist with the restoration of the Island. The judge stayed the sentence and allowed him to drive until the appeal could be heard.

On Friday, the appellant explained that he is a project manager for a construction company. He was presently responsible for 14 jobs, ranging from West Bay to past Frank Sound. It was important that he be able to travel from site to site to meet with both clients and workers.

The judge suggested that the appellant might want an extension of time ‘until things settle down’.

The man replied, ‘I don’t see them settling down soon.’ He suggested a sentence that would allow him to drive during working hours, such as 6am to 6pm, even if this meant that the total period of disqualification would be lengthened.

The judge asked Senior Crown Counsel Adam Roberts if the law allows for suspension of a licence ‘during certain hours’. Mr. Roberts indicated it did not.

Mr. Justice Henderson said he was concerned about innocent third parties whose homes might be built more slowly if the appellant couldn’t drive.

The judge suggested that one solution might be for the employer to hire a driver for the appellant.

He said he was prepared to give another extension, but in the final analysis the appellant was going to lose his licence for a few years. The only question was whether the suspension started that day or in a few months.

The appellant asked for time to consider and the matter was put over until 18 March, with the sentence stayed until then.

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