England rugby player Danny Cipriani awaits drink-driving case verdict


England rugby star Danny Cipriani is set to discover whether he will be convicted of drink-driving after admitting getting behind the wheel having spent the night drinking cocktails and champagne.

The fly-half, 28, was allegedly so drunk his eyes were "glazed", he slurred his words and could not stand straight after he crashed his black Mercedes into a taxi at 5.15am on June 1 last year.

The Wasps player, then with Sale Sharks, was breathalysed after the crash in Imperial Road, Fulham, and allegedly found to have 67 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath - twice the drink-drive limit.

Giving evidence at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Monday, he said he was "shocked" the test was positive, despite conceding he had consumed two espresso martinis and a glass of champagne less than an hour earlier.

Cipriani told the court he had been out drinking and eating sushi with other players at Eight Over Eight in Chelsea after England's thrashing of the Barbarians on May 31 last year.

But he claimed he felt "fine" and was not drunk, even after he continued drinking with a 4am breakfast.

The court heard he had two espresso martinis and a vodka cranberry at dinner, between 8.30pm and midnight.

Cipriani then went to a club for around half an hour, before going on to a friend's house. He left at 4am to have breakfast.

"I had three hours sleep, I woke up and I felt all right," he said.

The rugby player said he had a fry-up, as well as a "small champagne flute" and two more espresso martinis, within 45 minutes, before getting a cab to his car.

Cipriani said: "I was not drunk, I felt fine." He also denied he had been speeding.

Prosecutor Katie Weiss asked the player how he felt about the positive results of road-side drink-drive test.

He replied: "I was shocked at the fact that it was over."

Cipriani's case has been long and protracted after his lawyer, Philip Lucas, tried to get it dismissed, arguing there was not "sufficient" evidence the breathalyser test in the police station was working properly.

But chief magistrate Howard Riddle ruled Cipriani had a case to answer.

Mr Lucas has represented a string of celebrities in nearly identical cases and is well known for launching thorough defence cases focusing on legal loopholes or allegations of problems with breathalysing machines.