‘Sleepwalking’ Queally gets drink-driving ban

tom queally

Tom Queally: banned from driving for 22 months

  PICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos)  

FRANKEL’S jockey Tom Queally has been banned from driving for 22 months after claiming he was sleepwalking while drink driving.

Queally was more than twice over the limit after being found asleep behind the wheel of his BMW. He claimed he had not been drinking, then “rolled” out of a police car and lay down on the ground after being arrested, Crewe Magistrates’ Court heard.

His lawyer Nick Freeman claimed the 30-year-old was “morally totally innocent” as he was “sleep driving” at the time and claimed the law needed to be changed.

Freeman said Queally was forced to admit the charge of drink driving because the law had not caught up with medical science in recognising sleepwalking as a legal defence for drink driving.

On Monday Queally admitted  drink driving on March 16 this year.
Kate Marchup, prosecuting, told the court around 5am on that day a man driving home spotted Queally “either asleep or looking down at his mobile phone” with his car parked on a road in Knutsford, Cheshire. He saw another vehicle parked behind Queally’s BMW which was then spotted parked up on the forecourt of a Shell garage in the village of Chelford, nearly five miles away.  At 5.40am an officer arrived and found Queally asleep at the wheel with the car lights on and the engine running. 

Queally, who rode Frankel in all 14 of his starts, gave a breath test of 84 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35mg.

Tom Queally hugs Frankel - Ascot - 20-10-12

Tom Queally and Frankel after winning at Ascot

  PICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos)  

Freeman said a number of “trigger events” prompted an episode of sleep walking that led Queally to get in the car.

On the night of the incident, Queally had enjoyed an evening out in Hale, Cheshire with his friend Nicholas Whittle and his “last recollection” was reading Horse and Hounds on a bed at Whittle’s house around 2am.

Freeman told the court: “The thrust of my mitigation is he’s completely unaware of what he’s doing. He’s sleep driving.

“The defendant’s next recollection is actually being in the back of a police vehicle.”

Freeman said there was a history of sleepwalking in Queally’s family – and the defendant had sleep walked from the age of five.

Dr Irshad Ebrahim, a consultant psychiatrist called by the defence to give evidence, told the court he had twice examined the defendant.

Ebrahim said it was possible Queally was unaware of his actions because of his sleepwalking.

After listening to the defence mitigation, Judge Bridget Knight said previous legal authorities had ruled sleepwalking was not a defence for drink driving.

She disqualified Queally for 22 months, fined him £1,350, with a victim surcharge of £120 and ordered he pay the prosecution costs of £3,500. 

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