Graeme Swann not guilty of drink-driving

Graeme Swann was relieved to be acquitted with his wife due to give birth on Thursday

London, February 17, 2011

Cricketer Graeme Swann was on Wednesday found not guilty of drink-driving, in a case involving a late-night bid to rescue a trapped cat, and is free to join the England World Cup squad.

District judge Julia Newton told Nottingham Magistrates’ Court that it had not been proven that a blood sample taken from Swann on the night of his arrest could be used as evidence.

The England squad is in Bangladesh ahead of the World Cup, but the bowler is yet to join them as his wife is due to give birth on Thursday.

Leaving court, Swann said: “I’m just looking forward to getting on with it — child due tomorrow, and winning the World Cup.”

The Nottinghamshire off-spinner, ranked the second best Test bowler in the world, was stopped near his home in Nottingham, in the early hours of April 2 last year. The 31-year-old told police he had discovered his pet trapped under the floorboards after returning home from a night out with friends.

He was driving towards an all-night supermarket to buy some screwdrivers when he was pulled over. “In the specific facts in this case, I am not sure that the crown can rely on the second sample of blood and therefore I find Mr. Swann not guilty,” the judge said.

The court had previously heard that Swann had 83 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood in the second sample. The legal limit for drivers in Britain is 80mg. If found guilty, Swann could have faced up to six months in jail; a fine of up to 5,000 ($8,000, 6,000 euros), and a minimum of 12 months’ disqualification from driving.

England’s World Cup campaign begins with a Group B match against the Netherlands in Nagpur, central India, on Tuesday.