Cipriani drink-drive case 'should be thrown out'


England rugby star Danny Cipriani's trial for drink-driving is on the brink of collapse after his defence argued the case should be thrown out because of a lack of evidence.

The player, 28, is accused of being 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 Sale Sharks player, who has agreed a move to Wasps, was breathalysed after the crash in Imperial Road, Fulham, and found to have 67 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath - twice the drink-drive limit - the court heard.

But Philip Lucas, defending, told London's Westminster Magistrates' Court there is not "sufficient" evidence the breathalyser test in the police station was working properly.

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.

Making a halftime application to dismiss the case, Mr Lucas said there was not enough evidence that the machine Sergeant Marc Pullen tested Cipriani on was calibrated properly.

He said: "This is as plain a case that there can be that the officer has not said enough to put before the court proper evidence of calibration.

"The evidence simply was there was a reading at 7.30am and 7.33am and that the lower reading was 67."

Mr Lucas added: "The reference to it (the breathalyser machine) working properly is a reference to the breath alcohol readings being within 15% of one another.

"At no stage has the officer said that in reference to all the readings that the machine was working at the time.

"We can't tell by the reference to some of the readings that the machine was reliable."