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Punchline Gloucester
Psychiatrist likely to lose job after drink-driving conviction
By Court reporter
June 29, 2020

Psychiatrist Deborah Staite

Psychiatrist Deborah Staite

A psychiatrist has been told she is likely to lose her job after being handed a suspended jail sentence for a second drink-driving conviction.

Dr Deborah Staite, 49, of Little Toft, Butterow West, Stroud, was more than three times over the limit when she was breathalysed after a collision on Walkley Hill, Stroud, on January 21.

Dr Staite pleaded guilty at Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court to driving a grey Vauxhall Viva while over the drink drive limit. She also admitted driving without a valid licence and having no insurance.

The doctor was banned from driving for five years and given an 18-week suspended jail sentence.

Prosecutor Graham Dono told the court Staite had been involved in the collision with an oncoming blue Skoda at 5.30pm.

He said: “Both drivers were subjected to a roadside breath test and Staite’s result indicated she was more than three times over the drink-drive limit.

“She had a reading of 116 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35mcgs.”

The court was told Staite had been convicted of a similar offence in 2015 and she had not applied for a new driving licence since her disqualification expired.

Clare Buckley, defending, said: “She was due to be sentenced in March but because of the coronavirus crisis her case has been adjourned till now.

“She has been using her time well since then and is attending three Alcoholic Anonymous meetings a day on the internet. She is extremely well supported by her colleagues.

“She is doing everything she can to get well again. She is now in a much better mindset than she was at the beginning of the year.”

She continued: “The British Medical Association has told her she is likely to lose her job over this driving conviction.

“She says her main ambition is to get well again and is mindful that if she goes back to work too soon, she may find herself in the same situation.”

District Judge Joti Bopa Rai sentenced Staite to 18 weeks in prison suspended for a year and ordered her to attend a six-month alcohol treatment requirement and 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

She was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £128 and court costs of £85, as well as being disqualified from driving for five years from the date she first pleaded guilty in February.

The judge said: “The effects of this conviction will have a devastating effect on your career and your family life.

“I appreciate that a change of circumstances put you in this position. However you admit you’ve had a relapse and have tried to mitigate your actions during the COVID-19 crisis by seeking help.

“It’s not going to be an easy path back to health, but I understand that the organisation which supports your profession is also helping you to get better.”