An ex-debt collector facing jail after stuffing a CS gas canister in her underwear at a nightclub, kept her freedom.
Mother-of-one Samantha Irene Weldon, 35, had walked free from court after the incident. But, she had flouted the suspended prison term she had received by refusing to give police a breath test, telling them there was “not a chance” without her solicitor present, Burnley Crown Court was told.
Her attitude at the police station was slammed as “ arrogant,” by a judge, who said :” What a stance to take when you know you are on a suspended sentence.”
Judge Beverley Lunt said it was “ very tempting “ to lock Weldon up, but added it would be unjust.
The defendant, of Burnley Road, Padiham, had been convicted of failing to provide a specimen, in breach of the suspended term, at Burnley Magistrates’ Court, on June 8 and had been committed for sentence. She was given 28 days in custody, suspended for six months and banned from driving for 12 months.
Prosecutor Andrew Brown said police received a tip-off on February 1, that a possible drink driver had left a hotel in Bolton and was heading towards Burnley, to their home address in Padiham,
They lay-in-wait and stopped the defendant as she came off the motorway. Officers could smell alcohol and Weldon failed a roadside breath test, giving a reading of 49 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.
Mr Brown said the defendant was arrested and taken to the police station, where she was asked to provide two further samples for analysis. She answered” Get my solicitor. I’m doing nothing. I’m doing nothing without a solicitor present.” Weldon was asked again and replied :” Without my solicitor present, not a chance.”
The hearing was told the defendant had been given six months in prison, suspended for 18 months, with a curfew, at the crown court, last August. It had been imposed after she was found in possession of the CS canister in Lava Ignite, Burnley.
Dylan Bradshaw, for Weldon, said the main concern of the defendant was whether the suspended sentence was going to be activated.
She had her own child and also looked after her later sister’s daughter, after her death last year. The defendant, who was on benefits, also cared daily for her mother, who was very ill.
Mr Bradshaw continued :” Of course, the inevitable hardship of separation were she to be sent to prison today would perhaps be more profound in her circumstances.”
Judge Beverley Lunt warned Weldon that if she committed any offence at all in the next six months, she would go to prison.
The judge said the defendant knew she was over the limit, should not have be driving and could have complied with a breath test request. She told her: “Your attitude towards the police does you no credit whatsoever, but I’m not prepared to hold against you that when you have made real progress under the terms of the order imposed last year.”