Graeme Swann escapes drinking-driving penalty

England cricketer Graeme Swann was today found not guilty of drink-driving.

The off-spinner was a key member of the side that won an Ashes series in Australia for the first time in 24 years.



He is in England's Cricket World Cup squad but has not travelled to Bangladesh as his wife is due to give birth.



At Nottingham Magistrates' Court today Swann's trial, which has faced several adjournments because of his sporting commitments, came to an end as District Judge Julia Newton said it had not been proved that a blood sample taken from Swann on the night he was pulled over could be used as evidence.



At previous hearings the court heard he was stopped by officers on patrol in the West Bridgford area of Nottingham on April 2.



The court was told he had drunk three or four glasses of white wine earlier in the evening to celebrate his birthday.



When he returned to his £350,000 detached house in West Bridgford, he found one of his and wife Sarah's two cats - called Max and Paddy - stuck under the floorboards after builders had been working on their home.



Unable to find a screwdriver to undo the floorboards, Swann decided to drive his new white Porsche Cayenne to the nearest 24-hour Asda to buy a set of screwdrivers, the court heard.

The judge said: "On the evidence I have heard, I can't be sure that the 2ml sample of blood was insufficient or incapable of analysis by ordinary means.

"It may have been possible to analyse.



"It follows therefore that, in the specific facts in this case, I am not sure that the Crown can rely on the second sample of blood and therefore I find Mr Swann not guilty."



Leaving court today, Swann, dressed in a black suit and black coat, did not offer much reaction to the verdict but told reporters: "I'm just looking forward to getting on with it - child due tomorrow, and winning the World Cup."



Swann's solicitor, Phillip Lucas, previously argued that there was no case to answer because one of the samples of blood taken from Swann on the night he was stopped could not be used as evidence.



Mr Lucas said that, because two samples were taken but the first could have been used for testing, the second should not be relied upon under legal guidelines.



That second sample had 83mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood, which is over the legal limit of 80mg.



Mr Lucas also argued that the blood sample taken from Swann may have been contaminated.



Defence expert Dr John Mundy, a forensic alcohol consultant who previously worked for the Metropolitan Police's laboratory, said sometimes samples could be contaminated by the rubber bungs used in the vials, which may have happened, especially if the nurse who took the sample, Lisa Hodgkinson, had "agitated" the blood by moving it up and down.



Dr Mundy said: "If you get a bung that has contaminants - and they do have contaminants, I have seen quite bad contamination - that can get into the blood and as such can interfere with the alcohol analysis one way or another."



He said the contaminants could add to the alcohol reading, making it higher than it really was.



But at a previous hearing, Ms Hodgkinson told the court that Swann told her he had been drinking for more than four hours on the night he was pulled over.



She said: "Mr Swann stated he drank approximately five glasses of white wine, which were home measures.



"He stated he started drinking at approximately eight in the evening and finished drinking about half twelve or one in the morning."



The court heard that she took a second sample of 5ml of blood from Swann as she feared her first sample of 2ml was not enough.



But Dr Mundy said the first sample would have been adequate.



He said tests could be carried out on as little as 0.24ml of blood.



The court heard that samples are split into two for tests, but Dr Mundy said technically the first 2ml sample could have been used as 1ml was "ample".



He said: "I think this sample should have been sent to the laboratory."



"As the day-to-day head of the Metropolitan Police laboratory, if this had been done in the daytime, which this wasn't, obviously, an officer would have phoned me up and said 'Will this be OK?' and I would have said 'Yes'."





Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
Voices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
News
Ireland will not find out whether gay couples have won the right to marry until Saturday afternoon
news
News
Kim Jong-un's brother Kim Jong-chol
news
News
Manchester city skyline as seen from Oldham above the streets of terraced houses in North West England on 7 April 2015.
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?