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Last Updated: Monday, 7 August 2006, 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK
Burp claim at star's drink trial
Simon Gregson at Macclesfield Magistrates Court
Simon Gregson denies drink-driving
A Coronation Street star on trial for drink-driving has blamed belching for giving a false breathalyser reading.

Simon Gregson, who plays Steve McDonald in the soap, was stopped when a police officer saw his Jaguar going the wrong way down a one-way street in Cheshire.

He gave a positive roadside test and two further tests were positive.

Mr Gregson, 31, of Wilmslow, denies drink-driving. He told Macclesfield magistrates that he belched stomach acid, which could affect the tests.

The court heard that two police station readings were 60 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath - the legal limit is 35.

Gregson told the court that an ongoing medical condition, reflux oesophagitis, caused him to belch stomach acid into his throat while the breath tests were taking place.

A recent court case found that stomach acid refluxing into the throat or mouth can give a misleading reading during a breath test for alcohol.

Doctor confirmation

Gregson, appearing under his real name of Simon Gregory, told the court that he belched five to seven times while the Intoximeter was being set.

He said: "I remember I was sat to the officer's left hand side and I was burping and bringing up acid into my throat, which I just swallowed back down."

The court heard that Sgt Jeremy Taylor, who carried out the tests, should have asked Gregson the question 'have you brought anything up from you stomach' both before and immediately after the tests.

He explained that although he asked the question before the tests, he forgot to ask it immediately after them and only remembered later.

The actor told the court he assumed that the officer meant 'have you vomited?', and so replied "No".

Gwyn Lewis, defending, told the magistrates that Sgt Taylor's failure to ask the question at the appropriate moment meant that the test was not fair and the evidence inadmissible.

The magistrates retired to consider the verdict and will give a ruling later on Monday.

Gregson told the court he had suffered from the medical condition since 1998 - which was confirmed by records from the ITV-Granada doctor.


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