A Catholic priest who bumped into a woman’s car outside a church hall after having a few drinks, has been cleared of drunk driving.
Canon Peter Maguire, 73, from Wakefield, Yorkshire, pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence, despite admitting being over the alcohol limit.
Police brought charges after the priest provided a positive breath test following the incident, but charges were dismissed after prosecutors failed to prove that the collision had taken place in a public place.
Wakefield Magistrate’s Court heard that Canon Maguire appeared “unsteady on his feet” and “vacant” when he was challenged by fellow motorist Scarlett Hindle, whose car he had ‘bumped’ outside the church hall at St John The Baptist Catholic church, in Normanton, Yorkshire.
But Canon Maguire, 73, pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence. His solicitor argued that the incident took place on private land belonging to the church.
Miss Hindle said that when she heard about the crash, she went into the car park and challenged Canon Maguire who suggested that they could sort out the damage between them.
But Miss Hindle called the police, who visited the Canon’s home where he provided a positive breath test.
He was later charged with one offence of drink driving and two other charges relating to his driving documents.
But his solicitor argued that while the priest had been drinking, he had not been driving in a public place, and Magistrates dismissed the charges after finding that prosecutors had not provided sufficient evidence to the contrary.
Canon Maguire has apologised to Miss Hindle and his congregation.
January 26th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Simon Cross