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Last Updated: Monday, 24 January, 2005, 17:43 GMT
Driver fined for clutching apple
Sarah McCaffery
Sarah McCaffery was fined for not being in proper control of her car
A woman who held an apple while driving a car around a corner has been fined 60 and ordered to pay 100 costs.

Sarah McCaffery was pulled over in December 2003 by police who mistakenly thought she was on her mobile phone.

They spotted the fruit and issued her with a 30 ticket saying she was not in proper control of her Ford Ka.

The 23-year-old of Blackpool Parade, Hebburn, appealed, but was convicted by magistrates on Monday. Her solicitor said the case was "nonsensical".

Geoffrey Forrester, defending, also criticised Northumbria Police and the Crown Prosecution Service for ordering aerial photographs for the trial, which lasted just two-and-a-half hours at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court

'Perfect' manoeuvre

But on Monday the court ruled McCaffery was not in proper control of her car when she negotiated a left hand turn with the apple in her right hand.

Mr Forrester said his client carried out the manoeuvre into the road "perfectly".

He said: "Nothing illustrates the nonsense of this case more than the resources that have been thrown at it."

But chairman of the bench, Ken Buck, said: "We accept that there are times when you can drive with one hand, but, in holding an apple while negotiating a left hand turn, we consider you not to have been in full control."

Chris Kay, prosecuting, said the cost of the case, not including the aerial photographs and video, was 425.

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: "We were obliged to gather all appropriate evidence to present our case.

"Costs do not have a bearing on any decision to prosecute."


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