England rugby star Danny Cipriani has been found guilty of drinking and driving after his Mercedes crashed into a minicab following a night out in London last year.
The England rugby player Danny Cipriani has been convicted of drink-driving after getting behind the wheel having spent the night drinking cocktails and champagne.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard the Wasps fly-half was so drunk his eyes were “glazed” after the accident on Imperial Road, Fulham on 1 June 2015.
He was found to have 67 micrograms of alcohol per 100ml of breath when his car collided with a taxi and he was arrested. The 28-year-old was found to be nearly twice the drink-drive limit, the legal limit to drive in England and Wales being 35 micrograms.
He was found guilty on Friday after a trial. Cipriani, who now plays for Wasps and earns £3,200 a week, was fined £4,500 and ordered to pay £3,120 in costs as a result. The Court also ordered that he is banned from driving for a period of 18 months.
Cipriani claimed he was shocked that the breathalyser returned a positive result, despite admitting he had drunk two espresso martinis and a glass of champagne less than an hour earlier.
His case has been long and protracted after his lawyer, Philip Lucas, tried to get it dismissed, arguing there was not sufficient evidence that the test in the police station was working properly. However, the chief magistrate Howard Riddle ruled that there was a case to answer and found the charge proved. He said:
“I am satisfied so that I am sure that the breathalyser test machine was working properly, gave a correct reading, and on that basis the verdict is guilty.”
Solicitors for the player, who was at Sale Sharks at the time, said they would launch an appeal. They said:
“Mr Cipriani maintains his innocence and has always disputed being the cause of an accident which led to proceedings against him, as well as the allegation that he was over the legal drink-drive limit – either at the time of alleged driving, or on his arrival at the station, or at the time of the breath test – an assertion supported by the evidence of three forensic experts.”
Cipriani did not react as the verdict and sentence were announced in court.