Page last updated at 18:01 GMT, Wednesday, 7 April 2010 19:01 UK

Actor Darren Day guilty of offensive weapon charge

Darren Day
Darren Day was appearing in a Queen musical in Edinburgh at the time

Entertainer Darren Day has been found guilty of possessing an offensive weapon by a court in Edinburgh.

The actor had claimed during a two-day trial at the city's sheriff court that it had not occurred to him a keyring he owned could be considered a weapon.

He had previously admitted a drink-driving charge dating from the same night in December 2009, when he was starring in musical We Will Rock You.

The 41-year-old was banned from the roads for five years and fined £1,250.

Sheriff William Holligan admonished Day in respect of the weapon charge due to the "particular facts and circumstances".

The driver who turned out to be the accused fell out of the vehicle, staggered along the pavement into the hands of the police
Neil Allan
Fiscal depute

During the trial, Day said he had carried the kubotan keyring, a 5in-long metal stick given to him by a friend, for 14 years.

The weapon was found when he was arrested by Lothian and Borders Police after his Mercedes hit a lamppost in Manor Place in Edinburgh.

Day, who is well known for dating a string of glamorous women including actress Anna Friel, said he was shocked when he was charged by police, and had told them the item was not an offensive weapon.

But during the trial, the sheriff was told by two martial arts experts from Lothian and Borders Police that the kubotan was designed in the 1970s for use by the Los Angeles Police as a self-defence weapon and in a worst case scenario could be used to kill someone.

Fiscal depute Neil Allan, prosecuting, told Edinburgh Sheriff Court the entertainer had been arrested after falling out of the Mercedes, which was owned by his wife, close to the flat he was renting in the city.

Mr Allan said: "At 3.30am the sound of a collision was heard by a lady who lives in Manor Place, Edinburgh.

"She looked out of her window and saw a car approximately 90 degrees off its proper course.

"She heard attempts being made to start the vehicle and she saw a man open the bonnet and eventually after he returned to the vehicle the engine was started and it was driven away.

"The lady alerted the police who found a lamppost had been knocked over and there were vehicle parts including two fog lights lying on the road."

Police spotted the badly damaged vehicle 15 minutes later and followed it to Balfour Street.

Distressing news

Mr Allan added: "The driver who turned out to be the accused fell out of the vehicle, staggered along the pavement into the hands of the police."

Day, of Cudworth, South Yorkshire, admitted the amount of alcohol in his breath was 58mg per 100ml. The legal limit is 35mg.

His arrest on 18 December last year followed an 18-month disqualification for drink-driving in Cardiff in 2008.

Defence agent Bobby Frazer said Day had driven to George Street after receiving distressing news from his wife, with the intention of having one drink before going home.

Mr Frazer said: "I understand he was recognised after parking his car and there was not an altercation but some words were expressed towards him and as a result of that I understand he had three Jack Daniels.

"On leaving the establishment he was concerned he would not be able to get a taxi and did not want to walk back because he was concerned there might be another incident."

Speaking outside court, Day said: "I'm very relieved it's over. I am deeply sorry and ashamed of what's happened, especially for my family.

"I'm just very keen to move on now with my career and my life and leave it behind me."

Pleas of not guilty to careless driving, crashing into a lamppost, failing to report an accident to police and not co-operating with an initial breath test were accepted by the Crown.

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