Drink driving charge for top public law QC

A LEADING public law QC who is in the same set as the Home Secretary faces disciplinary action following his conviction on a drink driving related charge.

David Hands QC was warned by magistrates at South Western Magistrates Court that he had only just escaped jail after he admitted a charge of failing to provide a breath test.

Hands was stopped in London in November after police spotted him driving the wrong way down a one-way street.

A breath test at Kennington police station found him to be nearly four-and-a-half times over the drink driving limit, but an attempt to get a second reading, required by law, was aborted because the barrister was not blowing hard enough.

On 17 January, the magistrates banned him from driving for five years, fined him £2,000 and ordered him to do 200 hours of community work, after hearing from his counsel, Rupert Mayo, that he had an alcohol dependency problem.

Magistrate Alex Ormerod said that “just on balance” he would not jail Hands after claiming it was “more than a miracle there was no accident”.

He added: “A lawyer should have been aware of the dangers of driving with excess alcohol.”

Under Bar Council rules Hands, of Breams Buildings, where Michael Howard QC is a non-practising tenant, must report his conviction to its professional conduct committee.

The Bar Council will then decide what action to take against him.