Page last updated at 12:00 GMT, Monday, 8 March 2010

Rugby legend JPR Williams guilty of drink-drive charge

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Rugby legend JPR Williams put coins in his mouth to try to trick a breathalyser test

Welsh rugby legend JPR Williams has been banned from driving for 17 months after pleading guilty to drink-driving.

Cardiff Magistrates Court heard former full back Williams, 61, had sucked copper pennies in an attempt to lower a breathalyser reading.

He believed a "myth" that copper would interfere with the machine's function.

Williams, of Llansannor, Cowbridge, in the Vale of Glamorgan, who works as an orthopaedic surgeon, was also fined £380 plus costs.

The court heard Williams had to be told twice to remove three one-penny coins from his mouth in the back of a police car after he stopped in Cardiff on 30 January.

Prosecutor Hannah Norton said: "There is a myth that the copper from these coins can interfere with the breathalyser machine."

He feels he has let his family down, his friends and those who held him in high regard for his sporting prowess
Nigel Daniel, solicitor

Williams had already failed one breath test after being stopped in his red Audi cabriolet.

He was put in a patrol car to be taken to a police station for another test.

A blood sample showed 142 mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood. The legal limit is 80 mg.

Police stopped his car after being told a similar vehicle had been stolen, the court was told.

Defending solicitor Nigel Daniel said: "I wonder how many other red Audis have the registration number JPR."

'Remorse'

He told the court Williams and another former Wales rugby player had been entertained at London Welsh's ground in Richmond, London, during a match on 30 January.

The pair were chauffeured back to Cardiff before Williams took "the stupid and misconceived" idea to drive the eight miles to his home.

Mr Daniel said: "Dr Williams was under the foolish apprehension that after a four-hour journey he would be fit to drive. It was a costly mistake.

"To say that his arrest and detention had a salutary effect on him would be an understatement. He was terrified. He is full of remorse.

"He feels he has let his family down, his friends and those who held him in high regard for his sporting prowess.

"He is somebody who as a medical expert should clearly have known better."

'Mistaken belief'

Magistrates chairman William Watt told him: "Drink driving is a serious offence."

Williams played for Wales between 1969 and 1981, and only stopped playing local rugby seven years ago.

Speaking outside court, Mr Daniel said: "He regrets the actions which led him to appear here today.

"He hopes some good will come of today and that others, both young and old, will not follow his example and will refrain from drink-driving.

"He would also warn people not to drive in the mistaken belief that alcohol has left the system."



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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
Times Online Rugby star JPR Williams put coins in mouth to fool drink-driving test - 3 hrs ago
Mail Online UK JPR Williams banned from driving after breath test coin ploy fails - 12 hrs ago
Sydney Morning Herald JPR Williams banned for drink-driving - 14 hrs ago
New Zealand Herald Rugby great tries to fool breath test - 15 hrs ago
Yahoo! UK and Ireland Rugby great JPR Williams banned for drink-driving - 23 hrs ago


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