Sunday 23 July 2017

Towie's Michael Hassini ordered to carry out unpaid work after drink-drive crash

The 22-year-old appeared at Hammersmith Magistrates' Court
The 22-year-old appeared at Hammersmith Magistrates' Court

The Only Way Is Essex star Michael Hassini must carry out unpaid work after crashing his car on his way home from a wrap party and being found with cocaine.

The 22-year-old was more than two times over the drink-drive limit when he was pulled over following the crash, in Oxford Street, central London, on August 15.

Police officers followed him after he crashed his Mercedes into another car, which then collided with a bus, before driving off and heading the wrong way up a dual carriageway.

Hassini pleaded guilty at Hammersmith Magistrates' Court to possessing the class A drug, having admitted at a previous hearing to driving with excess alcohol.

Moments earlier he had been acquitted of assaulting a detention officer while in custody at Charing Cross police station.

Hassini was ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work, pay £170 in costs and was disqualified from driving for 21 months.

The star, dressed in a black suit, white shirt and black tie, said "no thank you" when asked to comment outside court.

Hassini, from the Pilgrims Hatch area of Brentwood, Essex, was arrested at 3.50am that morning and a "small" wrap of cocaine was found in his pocket.

In police custody at 5.01am, he gave a breath test, which was recorded at 92 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath - more than double the drink drive limit of 35 micrograms per 100ml.

He was placed in a cell where custody staff were required to check on him every 30 minutes.

The star, who was suspended from the hit ITV show after his arrest, told the court he was "drunk" after going out to a Towie wrap party, following a day of filming the previous day.

He said when he was pulled over by police, he knew he was going to be arrested.

He added he "passed out almost immediately" after being placed in the cell.

In sentencing him, judge Richard Blake said: "You are a young man. I am told at the time of these offences you had something of a leading role in a popular television programme, of reality TV based on lives in Essex.

"The last three months brought that career to an end. I can see from the evidence before me there's a serious question mark over whether that will be open to you again."

Judge Blake warned Hassini over his use of cocaine, which he said the star had taken during the party, and added: "The message should go out, particularly at this time of year when people's lives are ruined by drink driving, that the court will punish these offences."

Nick Barraclough, defending, said his client had not planned to drive home following the party.

"He had planned to drink," Mr Barraclough said.

"He left the event and thought that with hindsight he probably left the car inappropriately parked and was going to move it, collided with another vehicle.

"There was an altercation, not surprisingly, with the occupants of that vehicle and it was then that he drove away.

"He is someone who acknowledges his wrong and the risk he put others at. It's been a steep learning curve."

Following a short trial on Wednesday over the assault allegation, the judge said he "cannot be satisfied" the reality star intentionally kicked out at the woman officer, Susanne Werth, during a routine welfare check.

Hassini told the court he had been "asleep" at the time and had "zero recollection" of being roused by any officers.

A custody form recorded the star as having "glazed eyes" and being "slightly drowsy".

Two detention officers, who entered the cell shortly after 7am, told the court Hassini swung at them and kicked Miss Werth, resulting in bruising.

Mr Barraclough suggested Hassini was asleep throughout the welfare check and the kick was made while he was in a "deep sleep or stupor".

Hassini described Towie as "exaggerated reality" when explaining the show to the judge.

He said: "Obviously, it's not a scripted programme. We are able to say exactly what we like.

"Scenarios are created, we may have confrontations with certain individuals... They set the meetings up and we will, through our own free will, speak."

In interview with police following the incident, he expressed shock at the allegations.

He told officers: "I absolutely have no recollection of that. For me to kick out would be violent and very out of character.

"I've never been aggressive, never been anywhere near a fight. It's just not something in me to do nothing like that."

The court heard Hassini, who grew up and went to school in Essex, had one previous conviction for a driving offence.

Press Association

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