An ex-soldier who was caught behind the wheel while nearly two-and-a-half times the legal drink drive limit has been praised by a judge for turning his life around.
Joseph Mitchell, 50, was given a deferred sentence in November last year at Burnley Crown Court last year for drink driving and while subject to a suspended prison sentence order.
The hearing heard how Mitchell was stopped on Somerset Grove in Church after his ex-wife saw him behaving ‘bizarrely’.
He was arrested after giving a positive breath test and later gave a ‘lowest’ blood alcohol reading of 88mg – the legal driving limit is 35mg.
Judge Andrew Woolman deferred sentence for six months to ‘give him a chance’ and has now praised Mitchell for ‘grasping it with both hands’.
The court previously heard how Mitchell drove to his ex-wife’s house and she called the police, however he later told officers he couldn’t remember why he was there.
The court heard how he has suffered from mental health and alcohol problems ‘from his many years in the military’ and was previously drinking two litres of alcohol a day.
James Heyworth, defending, told the court at the deferred sentencing hearing how Mitchell had undergone a private detox ‘off his own back’ and was working ‘very hard’ to overcome his alcohol problems.
The court heard how Mitchell is now working with a rehabilitation centre in Salford and is growing food for homeless people. Mr Heyworth said: “He has volunteered to be fitted with a tag which tests sweat and shows if alcohol is in the system.
“It is demonstrable of Mr Mitchell of his real desire to not touch or be involved with alcohol as that was the root cause in his offending behaviour. He has grasped his opportunity.”
Sentencing, Judge Woolman said: “You were in a bad way when you committed this offence when you committed this offence.
“I deferred sentence to give you a chance and you have taken that with both hands.
“You set about not just trying to rid yourself of alcohol addiction but have demonstrated this conclusively. Without doubt it’s one of the most successful I have seen in some time.”
Mitchell, of Dove Lane, Darwen, was given a 12-month conditional discharge and disqualified from driving for 18 months.