Glasgow & West Scotland

Singer Paolo Nutini cleared of drink-driving

Paolo Nutini Image copyright Watchtower Media
Image caption Nutini claimed he drank whisky after driving home

Singer Paolo Nutini has been found not guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol in his home town of Paisley.

The 30-year-old had denied driving while more than twice the legal limit on 21 February.

The Scottish songwriter had used "the hip flask defence", which suggested he had drunk alcohol after he had driven.

A Scottish Police Authority forensic toxicologist had told the trial that "post-incident drinking" could increase alcohol readings.

During a two-day trial at Paisley Sheriff Court, witness Colin May told the court he saw Nutini driving after ordering vodka in DeBeers bar.

'Whisky mouthful'

PC Laura Murray told the first day of the trial she was called to Canal Street towards midnight on 21 February to a report of a car being driven by someone who had allegedly been drinking.

The car was no longer there when they arrived but they went to an address where they found a grey Mini and Nutini, who they had been told was the driver of the vehicle.

After testing positive for alcohol following a breath test, Nutini was arrested and taken to Govan police station.

Asked whether he mentioned drinking after returning home, she said: "He said he had had a mouthful of wine at home and this later changed to saying he had a mouthful of whisky."

The court heard Nutini had a reading of 48 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath - more than double the 22mcg legal limit.

Giving evidence, forensic toxicologist Karen Kerr had told the court she did a number of calculations on the alcohol level in Nutini's system.

She explained the amount Nutini claimed he had drunk after driving would account for 31mcg.

She said: "It's saying, had post-incident drinking not taken place, the result would have been 17[mcg] - it's in terms of the hip flask defence.

"The 17 would've been caused by any other pre-incident drinking - drinking prior to the evidential result."

Drinking pattern

She said the results of the breath test did not fit with his claims about how much he had to drink on the night in question but she conceded he may have been fit to drive at the time he was driving.

"It is possible he would've been under the limit [22mcg] at the time of driving," she said.

"He could be as high as 36[mcg] or as low as 14[mcg].

"I couldn't get 48[mcg] to lie within the range, based on the stated pattern of drinking."

Sheriff Colin Pettigrew acquitted the musician and Nutini left the court without comment.

Nutini's debut album, These Streets, was released in 2006 and peaked at number three on the UK Albums Chart, while the follow-up, 2009's Sunny Side Up, debuted at number one.

Both albums were certified quintuple platinum and his third album, 2014-release Caustic Love, was also certified platinum after going to number one.

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