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Man cleared of being 'drunk and in charge of a child' at Romsey Beggars' Fair
3:36pm Tuesday 2nd October 2012 in News
A FESTIVAL-GOER has been cleared of being drunk in charge of a child while on his way back from Beggars Fair.
Peter Fairlie was arrested by PC Vicki Dennett after she spotted him being “unsteady on his feet” while accompanying a child in Romsey during the annual music festival in July.
A court heard how the officer was concerned for the youngster’s welfare.
At the time and during his trial Mr Fairlie admitted drinking four to five pints of premium lager but denied being drunk.
Southampton magistrates cleared him because they could not be sure “beyond a reasonable doubt” that he was intoxicated.
Giving evidence, PC Dennett said when she spoke to him at about 6.45pm he was unsteady on his feet, had glazed eyes and was slurring his words.
“So I thought he was drunk,” she said.
Yet she said he was not breathalysed in the police station when he was arrested because that was not normal procedure.
Mr Fairlie, in his evidence, told the court that while he had drunk at least four pints between 1pm and 6pm, he was not drunk.
During the day he had taken the child to three pubs as well as the concert in Memorial Park. But he denied that he was drunk in charge of the child.
When PC Dennett swooped on him as he stood outside Hilliers Nursery in Botley Road, he was waiting to be picked up by his sister.
He said: “The police were instantly making out I was drunk but I knew what I was doing. They just grabbed me.”
The court also heard from witness Mark McLaughlin, 41, of Winchester Road, Romsey, who knew Mr Farilie and had met him at a food stall 20 minutes before he was arrested.
He said that Mr Fairlie was “not at all”
Speaking afterwards he said he was “relieved” to have been cleared.
He said: “It’s been traumatic but I am now pleased the truth has come out.”