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Motorist punched by drink-driver Michael Haugh

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: March 04, 2014

A DRINK-DRIVER who was going the wrong way down a one-way street in St Columb Major punched another motorist after insisting that he must reverse.

Fisherman Michael Haugh, 50, was given a suspended prison sentence when he appeared before Bodmin magistrates for sentencing on Thursday.

The court was told that at a police station, where he gave a breath sample almost three times over the limit, he could barely stand.

Haugh, of Rosenannon, Bodmin, who has a previous drink-driving conviction, was banned from driving for four years and ordered to pay £200 compensation to the motorist, Malcolm Vivian.

He had pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol, assaulting Mr Vivian by beating and using a vehicle without a test certificate.

Graham Calderwood, for the prosecution, said that on the night of December 19 Mr Vivian was driving a Mazda along Fore Street in St Columb Major when he met a Mitsubishi coming towards him the wrong way in the one-way system.

Its driver, Haugh, insisted Mr Vivian should reverse and then drove slowly towards the Mazda. His car came into contact with it, although no damage was caused.

Haugh then got out and again told Mr Vivian to reverse before reversing himself and then driving forward to nudge Mr Vivian's car for a second time.

Becoming aggressive, Haugh got out and approached Mr Vivian yet again, telling him he would "do him over". Mr Vivian then reversed to let Haugh pass before pulling over to check his car for damage.

Angry and swearing, Haugh came across and without warning punched Mr Vivian twice on the chin and on the back of the head.

Mr Vivian flagged down a passing police car to report the incident, which had been witnessed by a PCSO.

Haugh provided a breath sample at the police station which showed he had 99 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, the limit being 35mcg.

Interviewed by police, he said he had drunk a substantial amount in a pub in Padstow after work and was trying to turn in the street.

He remembered being annoyed but could not remember throwing punches.

The court was told Haugh had previous convictions, including one for an offence of drink-driving in 2006 and more recently one for battery, in 2011.

Dawn Hallett, for the defence, said Haugh would usually have slept on his boat after going out drinking but "for some reason" decided to drive that night.

He was unable to remember large parts of what had happened but took responsibility for it at an early stage.

Haugh had had a drink problem since the age of 17 and had tried many times to get help, said Ms Hallett. He had substantially reduced his drinking since the incident.

After considering a probation officer's report, in which it was stated that Haugh would be unsuitable for a community penalty due to the time he spent away at sea, the magistrates imposed a 16-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months. He was also ordered to pay £85 costs and an £80 victim surcharge, as well as the compensation, and warned he would now be classed as a high-risk offender and must satisfy DVLA of his fitness to drive before his licence would be returned.

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