Pattison punished for drink driving

Norwich City footballer Matthew Pattison has been banned from getting behind the wheel for 20 months after admitting driving while twice over the legal limit.

Norwich City footballer Matthew Pattison has been banned from getting behind the wheel for 20 months after admitting driving while twice over the legal limit.

The 21-year-old appeared at Norwich Magistrates Court following his arrest outside the Canaries' Colney training ground on March 16.

The South African-born midfielder was represented by lawyer Simon Nicholls who, after the hearing, refuted claims in the national media surrounding the incident - including those that he turned up to training in his underpants.

Pattison, dressed in a shiny grey suit, did not speak throughout the 20 minute hearing.

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The court heard how Pattison, who is currently residing at Dunston Hall on the A140, had been to Mercy Nightclub following his side's two-nil defeat away to Sheffield United on the Saturday.

He stayed at the club until 4.30am.

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The court heard how he then got up to drive his Jeep Cherokee to the training ground at 8.30am but was arrested after police were notified by a worried member of reception staff, Ben Lee, from Dunston Hall.

Mark Davis, prosecuting, told the court how the player, who has only recently moved to the club from Newcastle United, had appeared at the reception desk at the hotel on the A140 at about 8.30am.

He said: “The receptionist said his speaking was slurred, he was incoherent and unable to stand properly and so he called the police.

“He was found with 74 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, with the legal limit being 35.”

Pattison admitted he had been to Mercy nightclub on Prince of Wales Road until 4.30am but said he had needed to drive to the training ground the next morning.

However in mitigation Mr Nicholls said his client accepted he probably “smelled” of alcohol and said he had “fallen foul to misunderstanding how alcohol stays in the system” but does not believe he would have been displaying the symptoms described on the amount he had drunk.

He said Pattison is of previous good character and admitted at the earliest opportunity that he had been drink-driving. He added that stories in the media “were not founded” and indicated that a national newspaper would be apologising for an inaccuracy surrounding the case.

In a statement afterwards read out on behalf of the player, Mr Nicholls said: “I sincerely regret the actions that have led to me coming to court today.

“I fully accept the sentence handed to me by the magistrates and I am determined to learn from my mistake. I would like to say sorry to the magistrates and the police for taking up their time.”

Magistrates' chairman John Rockliff sentenced Pattison to a 20 month driving ban but this will be reduced to 15 months if he successfully completes takes a drink drive rehabilitation course. He was also fined £2,300, a court surcharge of £15 and £60 costs which he had to pay in the next 14 days.

He was whisked away from court in a football club sponsored car.

Pattison is City manager Glenn Roeder's only permanent signing to date.

The midfielder joined the Canaries on loan from Roeder's old club, Newcastle United, in November.

In January, he signed for City in a three-and-a-half-year deal that could cost the club up to £500,000.

Today the club released a statement regarding the sentence, which said: “The club notes the sentence given to Matthew Pattison following today's hearing at Norwich Magistrates Court in connection with his recent arrest for driving while under the influence of alcohol.

“Both the player, who pleaded guilty to the offence, and the club fully accept and support the sentence handed down by the magistrates. Matthew genuinely and sincerely regrets his behaviour and the club will support his determination to learn from this serious breach of his position of responsibility as a Norwich City player.

“The club is committed to working with police and other relevant local authorities and welfare groups to promote responsible citizenship and this includes a very firm stance against drink driving and other forms of irresponsible or anti social behaviour.

“We will continue to drive this message home during the programme of development in place to educate young players in our Academy and to support local initiatives aimed at reinforcing these messages in the wider community.”

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