A TEACHER found to be more than four times the drink-drive limit on Christmas Day has been banned from driving for five years.
Maths teacher Julia Francis Griffiths, 45, was sent on an alcohol treatment course as part of a 12- month community order, under which she will receive supervision.
Griffiths, currently on unpaid leave while she tackles her alcohol dependency, was ordered to pay £145 costs.
District Judge Andrew Shaw, sitting at Flintshire Magistrates Court, said it was an unusual case.
She had a very high reading, which was four times the limit, and it was aggravated by the fact she had a previous drink-drive conviction. But having heard the mitigation and read references he was satisfied a community order was appropriate.
The Mold court heard Griffiths effectively ‘fell out of the car’ when stopped by police.
Griffiths, of Park Road, Buckley, went out on the evening of Christmas Day to take some presents around the corner to her father’s address.
But she was seen by police driving without lights and she then stopped at an angle in the middle of the road.
She later blew an alcohol reading of 147 microgrammes compared to the legal limit of 35, prosecutor Matthew Ellis said.
She admitted driving with excess alcohol, not having a driving licence which had been revoked, and her insurance was not valid because she had no licence.
Police saw a Mazda car being driven in Church Road, Buckley, without lights at about 6.30pm.
They were concerned at the manner of driving, followed it a short distance, and Griffiths stopped in the middle of the road.
Officers approached, took the car keys and asked her to get out of the vehicle, and she ‘effectively fell out of the car’. She had to be assisted across the road to the police car.
She told police she had only had two glasses of wine and thought she would be alright to drive.
Huw Roberts, defending, said it was a sad case of a woman with a 20 year teaching career who had suffered setbacks in her life, was being treated for depression and had become alcohol dependent.
She had worked in a mainstream school, then ran a centre for the youth justice and social inclusion service for many years, before taking a job as a maths teacher.
She had been through a catalogue of issues which meant she had started to lean on alcohol and had become alcohol dependent.
She had been a fitness fanatic but suffered from anorexia and was hospitalised in 2008.
Her mother died of cancer in 2010 and Griffiths was also responsible for her father who suffered from motor neurone disease and who had been in a wheelchair for 10 years.
In October last year she had been the witness to a brutal assault where proceedings were ongoing.
She had intervened to try and help friends and had been assaulted.
Significantly, he said, she had before the offence, referred herself to the alcohol services for assistance and had a key worker.
Griffiths hoped she would be able to return to work by Easter.
She had become alcohol dependent and believed she had ‘topped up’ on Christmas Day which accounted for the high reading.