An intoxicated Lithuanian lorry driver, who was stopped at Dover docks after his Scania truck was reported to be driving erratically, lost his licence within two hours of being charged for drunk-driving by Kent Police.
Romualdas Rocys, 48, was stopped by officers on Tuesday 26 June, who discovered he was three-times over the legal drink-driving limit.
Using the Virtual Court System, which Kent Police has been operating since August 2009, Rocys was charged for the offence at 9.21am and by 11.35am, he was disqualified from driving in the UK for 36 months. He was also fined £1,500, plus £85 costs.
Detective inspector Bob Platt, who oversees the Virtual Court network in Kent, says: “An HGV is a deadly weapon in the wrong hands and the consequences of driving a lorry whilst drunk are severe.”
He adds that under normal circumstances, a person would be bailed to return to court after being charged, which means that between the date of charge and the court appearance, that person can drive their vehicle.
“By using the Virtual Court Network, a defendant can lose their licence on the same day as charge and therefore the chances of them being a danger on the roads and reoffending is limited,” he explains.
The virtual court uses a secure live video link to allow defendants to appear in front of magistrates while still in custody. The same technology is also used to allow witnesses to provide evidence. The initiative began in May 2009 in London (Camberwell Green) and Kent (Medway), and is now being extended this month to other locations in these areas as well as to Cheshire and Hertfordshire.