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Driving ban for 'sleep walking' drunk jockey

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Jockey Tom Queally has been banned from driving for 22 months after claiming he was sleep walking while drink driving

Jockey Tom Queally has been banned from driving for 22 months after claiming he was sleep walking while drink driving

Jockey Tom Queally has been banned from driving for 22 months after claiming he was sleep walking while drink driving

FORMER Irish champion apprentice jockey Tom Queally was banned from driving for 22 months after claiming he was sleep walking while drink driving.

Queally, from Dungarvan, Co Waterford, was more than twice over the limit after being found asleep behind the wheel of his BMW, claimed he had not been drinking, then "rolled" out of a police car and lay down on the ground after being arrested, Crewe Magistrates' Court in the UK heard.

But his lawyer Nick Freeman, known as "Mr Loophole", claimed the 30-year-old, most famous for being the regular jockey of Frankel, was "morally totally innocent" as he was "sleep driving" at the time and claimed the law needed to be changed.

Celebrity lawyer Mr Freeman claimed Queally was forced to admit the charge of drink driving because the law had not caught up with medical science in recognising sleep walking as a legal defence for drink driving.

Queally, who now lives at Oak Lodge, Newmarket, admitted drink driving on March 16, earlier this year.

Kate Marchup, prosecuting, told the court around 5am on March 16 a man spotted Queally "either asleep or looking down at his mobile phone" with his car parked in the carriageway of Knutsford Road in Cheshire. He was later found asleep at the wheel of his car on the forecourt of a garage and gave a positive breath test.

Queally gave a reading of 84 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mg.

Mr Freeman said a number of "trigger events" prompted an episode of sleep walking that led him to get in the car.

He said Queally used to ride for Sir Henry Cecil, who died in June 2013, and an ex-girlfriend had also taken her life. He said the jockey's last recollection was reading Hare and Hounds and he next recalled being in a police car.

Dr Irshad Ebrahim, a consultant psychiatrist called by the defence, said it was possible Queally was unaware of his actions because of his sleep walking.

District Judge Bridget Knight said previous legal authorities had ruled sleep walking was not a defence for drink driving. Judge Knight disqualified Queally for 22 months, fined him £1,350 (€1700) and ordered he pay the prosecution costs.

Irish Independent