Drink drive actress cleared of drink driving on technicality
PUBLISHED July 17, 2012
Anna Parker, 50, the wife of actor Nathaniel Parker who plays Inspector Lynley in the BBC crime drama series, was cleared by a judge who told her she had "got away with it" because she had faced the wrong charge.
Despite a police road-side test proving positive - registering 43mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath - a lengthy wait in hospital meant that when official readings were taken Mrs Parker was in fact under the limit.
At a hearing at Stroud Magistrates' Court, Glos., District Judge Joti Bopa-Rai said: "Your client is a lucky lady.
"Because this is an incorrect charge it means you have got away with it."
She then dismissed the charge against Mrs Parker and allowed her to leave court.
David Nicholas, prosecuting, told the court that police were called to a road accident in Minchinhampton, Glos., at 9.30pm on March 9, where they found a blue Hyundai Santa Fe on its roof.
Police administered a roadside breath test, which proved positive, but Mrs Parker was then taken to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital for treatment.
But due to a large backlog of patients she was not taken into custody until 4am, where a second alcohol test revealed levels of 23 to 24 mg of alcohol, below the legal maximum of 35mg.
District Judge Bopa-Rai raised questions over the use of the initial roadside breath test in the charge and stated that the check at the police station normally proved the basis of a charge.
She said that had Mrs Parker been charged under a different section of the law, a back calculation could have been made, adding: "Is this a correct charge? As far as I can see it's a problem in the law."
She then dismissed the case, despite Mrs Parker's guilty plea to a charge of driving a vehicle when over the alcohol limit.
She has also appeared in films, including Othello with Kenneth Branagh and TV history drama, Rome, under the name Anna Patrick.