Suspected drink-driving disabled Burnley man found asleep at the wheel not banned

A disabled man, suspected to be over the limit after being found asleep at the wheel of his parked car on New Year’s Day, has not been banned.

Ermanno Miniero, whose keys were in the ignition, refused to give a breath test at the police station. He had blown about 95 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath at the roadside. Burnley magistrates heard. The legal limit is 35.

The court was told nobody had seen the 61-year-old drive the vehicle. Police had gone to the car in Burnley at about 9.45pm after a report from a member of the public concerned for the occupant’s welfare. He was taken to the station, where his behaviour “fluctuated from being cooperative to a little abusive.”

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Mrs Alex Mann, prosecuting, continued: "He is clearly a man suffering with some ailments. At one point, when he was asked if anything was wrong, he said 'yes, all sorts' and listed some of the medication he was on.

"At that point, he just runs out of cooperation and refuses to provide a proper evidential sample of breath.”

Mrs Mann added the defendant had no previous convictions and added: "It’s a shame to see this gentleman here for this offence.”

Mr Trevor Feehily, defending, said he didn’t think Miniero was fully in control of himself that evening. He was not in good physical or mental health. He had grown up in care and by the age of 16, had been placed in 25 different residential care homes. Miniero suffered with anxiety and depression, also had physical health problems and had been on a cocktail of prescribed drugs for many years.

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The defendant decided to make the trip to see his uncle, who had been unwell, on New Year's Day. The solicitor continued: "He tells me he discovered later on he over-medicated that day. He has little recollection of what has gone on at his uncle’s. He doesn’t recall consuming alcohol, but clearly the roadside device indicates he has.

“He does have a vague recollection of feeling unwell in the vehicle. He has tried to phone his partner to arrange for some help, hoping somebody would come to collect him. He couldn’t get a signal on his phone, was stranded at the roadside, and was seen by a member of the public.”

"It’s right to say it’s out of character for him. He has held a full driving licence for 39 years. He doesn’t know how he would cope if he were to be banned from driving by the court today. His partner doesn’t drive. He has appointments to see his doctor, psychiatrist and physiotherapist and he simply wouldn’t be able to go to these appointments if he were to be banned from driving.”

The defendant, of Church Street in Walshaw, Bury, admitted failing to provide a specimen - person in charge of a vehicle. He was given 10 points on his licence and was fined £120, with £85 costs and a £32 victim surcharge.