Drink drive charge Sidmouth golfer gets trial delay

SIDMOUTH golfer Roger Winchester s trial has been adjourned after the court heard police officers giving evidence discussed the case before the hearing.

SIDMOUTH golfer Roger Winchester's trial has been adjourned after the court heard police officers giving evidence discussed the case before the hearing.

Winchester, 42, is accused of being more than twice the legal driving limit while travelling along an Exeter road shortly before Christmas.

His barrister, Katherine Hodson, who has previously represented England footballer Ashley Cole, claims the officers involved in Winchester's arrest failed to wait the mandatory 20 minutes after he removed chewing gum to take his alcohol level.

Central Devon Magistrates' Court heard on Tuesday that two police officers pulled Winchester, of Cotlands, over just before 1am on December 18 while he was driving along Topsham Road after one of them spotted a defective rear light.

They told the court they saw Winchester straddling the white lines in the middle of the road and at one point swerved to avoid a bollard on an island before they stopped him.

He failed a road-side breath test and the officers said his eyes were glazed, his speech was slurred and he was unstable on his feet.

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They told the court Winchester said he had drank two small bottles of Budweiser beer and two small glasses of red wine.

They recalled he said he had a cold and had taken some antibiotics the night before which he claimed affected his behaviour.

Miss Hodson, when cross examining the officers, queried the timings given by them after her client was taken into custody and before the alcohol readings were taken.

They told the court they had not realised Winchester was chewing gum when he was arrested and were informed by the custody sergeant on their arrival at the station - but they both insisted they waited at least 20 minutes to carry out the test after the gum was removed.

Magistrates adjourned the trial when Miss Hodson applied for an abuse of process hearing after one of the police officers during cross-examination said he had discussed some of the details of the case with the other officer before the trial.

Ben Windsor, prosecuting, said: "It is the crown's position that an abuse has not taken place."

The abuse of process hearing will be heard before a district judge on July 16. Winchester was granted unconditional bail.