Welsh Assembly member banned for drink-driving

Plaid Cymru assembly member Bethan Jenkins
Plaid Cymru assembly member Bethan Jenkins
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A Welsh Assembly Member who was more than twice the legal drink-drive limit has been banned from getting behind the wheel for 20 months.

South Wales West AM Bethan Jenkins was on her way from Cardiff to her parents’ home in Merthyr Tydfil, a journey of 23 miles, when police stopped her at 1.30am one Sunday morning, Cardiff magistrates heard.

Officers discovered the £52,000-a-year politician, who was at a friend’s 40th birthday bash the previous evening, smelled of alcohol and was unsteady on her feet.

Prosecutor Ian Dawes said that at the time of her arrest, an intoxicated Jenkins was wearing her pyjamas.

“In the early hours, at 1.30am, of October 14 police noticed the defendant’s vehicle was being driven erratically and straying between lanes one and two. They later noticed the defendant was unsteady on her feet and her speech was slurred,” he said.

A blood test gave a reading of 194 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80.

After being taken to the police station, 30-year-old Jenkins issued a press release the next day, saying she was profoundly sorry for her actions.

Defending, Martyn Powell, said his client was battling with depression and was seeking professional help. Jenkins, who sobbed in court, was “mortified” by her actions but there are no other aggravating factors, Mr Powell said.

She was fined £750 and was ordered to pay a £75 victim surcharge and £85 in costs.

Jenkins – who became the Assembly’s youngest-ever AM when elected aged 25 in 2007 – remains suspended from Plaid Cymru’s assembly group.