London

Drink-driving conviction upheld after crash no one saw

A judge has upheld a drink-driving conviction against a man involved in a crash no one saw.

The High Court judge ruled magistrates in east London were entitled to convict Aidurai Premananthan, from Wembley, north-west London, on circumstantial evidence.

The evidence included the fact he had offered £2,000 to a witness who saw him at the scene.

Premananthan was disqualified for 12 months and ordered to pay £250.

Mrs Justice Cox said that although each of the individual facts did not prove his guilt, when combined they had entitled Stratford magistrates in east London, to reject his plea of no case to answer last February.

Premananthan appealed to the High Court, arguing the prosecution had failed to prove the case against him beyond reasonable doubt.

'Drunken gift'

The judge said witness Gabriel Enahoro was at his home overlooking a car park in Romford Road, Forest Gate, east London, in November 2011 when he heard a loud bang and went to a window.

He saw Premananthan "leaning on the car bonnet on the driver's side of the car" and when he went downstairs Premananthan was in a drunken state.

Premananthan then offered Mr Enahoro £2,000, but he did not state why he was offering the money.

Premananthan's counsel argued it could just have been "the gift of a drunken man".

There were no other witnesses to say an accident had occurred or that Premananthan had been driving.

Premananthan was prosecuted after a breathalyser test showed he was over the drink-drive limit.

The judge said while there might have been an innocent explanation for the offer of money the circumstances entitled the magistrates to "infer the appellant had been driving and the offer of money was in order to dissuade the witness from calling the police".

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