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Neath-based AM Bethan Jenkins reveals regret over drink-drive charge shame

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: December 20, 2012

Bethan Jenkins leaving Cardiff Magistrates Court.

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A NEATH-BASED Assembly Member has been banned from getting behind the wheel for 20 months after she was caught drink driving.

South Wales West AM Bethan Jenkins was stopped by police in Cardiff at 1.30am on October 14 after officers saw her driving erratically.

Cardiff Magistrates' Court heard that the 30-year-old — who pleaded guilty — was twice over the drink driving limit.

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

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In a statement Miss Jenkins, whose office is based in Briton Ferry Road in Melin, said the incident was something which she regretted wholeheartedly. She said she was "deeply sorry".

The court heard Miss Jenkins, who was suspended from her party Plaid Cymru following the incident, had been at a friend's 40th birthday party the evening before.

The hearing revealed that rather than stay at her friend's address in the Welsh capital, she instead decided to drive back to her parents' home.

Prosecutor Ian Dawes said when officers pulled over Jenkins's car she was wearing pyjama bottoms and a hooded top.

He said: "In the early hours 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."

District Judge Bodfan Jenkins disqualified her from driving for 20 months with the option of doing a drink rehabilitation course would reduce it by five months. She was also fined £750 and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £75 victim surcharge.

In a statement, following Miss Jenkins' court appearance yesterday, she said: "On this occasion, I fell well below the standards I expect of myself and I therefore fully accept the judge's decision in this matter.

"I would like to thank the police for the manner in which they have dealt with this process.

"This has been a difficult period, in which I've begun to come to terms with depression for the first time.

"Friends and others, including many from South Wales West, the region I represent with tremendous pride, have shown wonderful support, for which I am truly thankful. I will always be grateful to them for their kindness, which has been a source of great comfort."

Chairman of the Plaid Cymru Assembly group Alun Ffred Jones said: "She is currently on sickness leave and her suspension from the group will continue until her return to work when the group will consider the matter further."

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  • sonofsand  |  December 23 2012, 9:40PM

    Well here we are again. What did I miss?

  • Gwyddno  |  December 23 2012, 12:36PM

    The Police have responsibility for the care of anyone in their custody. If a Duty Officer believes that someone may be at risk due to their condition, a medical doctor is requested to carry out an examination of the person. The taking blood samples was probably necessary in this particular case. It seems that the malice-ridden want a Torquemada style re-trial with a Draco style punishment of everyone involved.

    |   3
  • RichSwans  |  December 23 2012, 8:18AM

    A blood test is unusual. Normally the police would take her into the station to have an accurate breath test. Given that a Police appointed Doctor would need to attend (takes hours), the alchohol levels would have dropped significantly. What was the roadside breath reading?

    |   -1
  • hacker_jack  |  December 21 2012, 1:47PM

    Dan please re-read my comment (or stop cherry-picking quotes to suit your own purposes at least). I stated she should resign and be given another job within the party. Take her out of the public eye and decision making process (which will both relieve pressure on her) until she works out her problems. And yes that is how I would treat all employees, take them out of the firing line, offer them support and the opportunity to return when the time is right.

    |   -6
  • Dan01  |  December 21 2012, 11:06AM

    hacker_jack says "As for Ms. Jenkins. She should resign right now, not because of this offence but because of the depression she is apparently suffering from." Is that how you would treat an employee suffering from depression? Or are you singling out politicians, or maybe those from a particular party?

    |   5
  • moogman  |  December 21 2012, 7:45AM

    Silence from the all-knowing Dooyah. Case closed.

    |   -13
  • Gwyddno  |  December 20 2012, 10:48PM

    Ms. Jenkins has been fortunate that no one was hurt as a result of her behaviour. It will be a long time before the incident will be regarded as a single moment of recklessness but, I hope that it's just that.

    |   7
  • moogman  |  December 20 2012, 8:52PM

    Of course, you also have blood tests for drugs. Who knows what people take to tackle depression these days.

    |   -3
  • brochadav  |  December 20 2012, 8:42PM

    Dano1, so drink driving is ok if you don't sneak around the back roads is it? That defies belief, thank god you are not in charge. And isn't depression suddenly very common amongst politicians who've been caught breaking the law? Is it some kind of medical get out clause. She should resign. Her complete lack of judgement and responsibility should preclude her from her position. But I bet the financial rewards of being an AM will over ride any morals or ethics she may have. If she resigns I will happily admit I was wrong and apologise, but I won't hold my breath. Previous experience of politicians is damning.

    |   -1
  • hacker_jack  |  December 20 2012, 6:04PM

    As for Ms. Jenkins. She should resign right now, not because of this offence but because of the depression she is apparently suffering from. Resign as an AM, give her some other party job for a few years until she gets herself sorted out and can prove herself reliable enough to stand again.

    |   -8