Drink-driving conviction upheld
The High Court has upheld a drink-driving conviction against a man involved in an accident no one saw, and when there was no actual evidence that he had been driving.
A judge ruled that magistrates had been entitled to convict Aidurai Premananthan on circumstantial evidence.
This included the fact that he had offered a mysterious £2,000 "gift" to a witness who had looked out of his window after hearing "a loud bang" and saw him leaning on the bonnet of a black car.
Today Premananthan, from Wembley, north west London, appealed to London's High Court, arguing that the prosecution had failed to prove the case against him beyond reasonable doubt and he had no case to answer.
His counsel agreed that he had never said why he had offered the £2,000 to the witness, but it could just have been "the gift of a drunken man".
Upholding the conviction, Mrs Justice Cox said that, although each one of the facts of the case was unlikely to prove his guilt, combined together they had entitled Stratford magistrates in east London last February to reject his plea of no case to answer.
The judge said Gabriel Enahoro was at his home overlooking a rear car park in Romford Road, Forest Gate, east London, on November 12 2011 when he heard a loud bang and immediately went to a window.
He saw Premananthan "leaning on the car bonnet on the driver's side of the car". There was no one else in sight.
Mr Enahoro said he went down and saw Premananthan in a drunken state. There were no other witnesses to say an accident had occurred or that Premananthan had been driving.
But Premananthan offered Mr Enahoro £2,000. "He did not state why he was offering the witness that money but simply stated that he would give him £2,000," said the judge.
Premananthan was prosecuted after a breathaliser test showed he was over the drink-drive limit, with 55 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. He was disqualified for 12 months and ordered to pay £250.
The judge said that, while there might have been an innocent explanation for offering £2,000 to Mr Enahoro "the circumstances in which that offer was made, including all the other facts found, entitled these justices to infer the appellant had been driving and the offer of money was in order to dissuade the witness from calling the police."