Dad who drove his kids while swigging lager at the wheel has sentence cut

A dad who swigged cans of lager at the wheel while his children were passengers has had his jail sentence slashed.

Jack Reather then began drinking a bottle of vodka after being placed in the backseat of the police car following his arrest, Leeds Crown Court was told.

The 31-year-old was jailed at Leeds Magistrates' Court earlier this month for eight weeks after pleading guilty to a charge of drink driving, but after appealing the sentence he was brought before Leeds Crown Court on Friday.

Outlining the case, prosecutor Rachel Webster said Reather, his partner and their children had been driving back from the coast on April 17, when he stopped at a shop, bought four cans of beer and began drinking them on the drive home.

File image of a police vehicle

When they reached their Normanton home, an argument began between Reather and his partner broke out, and he drove off.

The police had been called and his white Ford Fiesta was stopped on Barnsley Road in Pontefract at around 5.10pm.

He was put in the back of the police car when he pulled out the bottle and began downing vodka moments before he was given a breath test.

It was suggested that he may have drunk the high-alcohol spirit in an attempt to skew the breathalyser reading, which was not proven.

An expert report found that drinking the vodka would not have had time to affect the reading in any case, which came out at 73 mcgs of alcohol in 100 mls of breath.

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The legal limit is 35 mcgs, putting him at more than twice the legal limit.

Admitting the charge, Reather, of Shaw Rise, Normanton, was given the eight-week jail term and was banned from driving for 41 months.

He appeared at the crown court on Friday over the video link from HMP Leeds, where the jail sentence was challenged.

His barrister, Eleanor Mitten, said Reather accepted the driving ban, but tit was felt the jail term was excessive, that he was lightly convicted and admitted the charge at an early stage.

The hearing was told he had a previous ban in 2018 for drink driving, and the prosecutor said aggravating factors included having his children in the car, downing the vodka, and that he was on bail at the time for one of two assaults he is due to be sentenced for next month.

The judge, Recorder Ashley Serr, agreed that the jail term was too long, and cut it from eight weeks to four.

He said: "It does warrant a period of custody, however we are of the view that a period of eight weeks was, in the circumstances, wrong in principal and manifestly excessive, even taking into account the relevant aggravating factors."

Despite the sentence being cut, and ordinarily being eligible for parole, he remains on remand for the assault charges for which he will be brought back to Leeds Crown Court to face on July 5.