This week 60 years ago: How a Hackney doctor arrested for drink driving was assessed on whether he could touch his nose with his finger
PUBLISHED: 15:01 29 October 2019
In the days before breathalysers, the Gazette devoted several inches of column space to the not-very-scientific way in which a doctor who was accused of drink driving was assessed.
David Charles Williams, 62, of Bethune Road, was arrested after his breath smelt strongly of drink and that he stumbled when he was asked to get out of his car in Stoke Newington High Street, this week 60 years ago.
Another doctor who went to the police station to assess his state of inebriation described to the court what tests he had asked him to do. He was told to put his index finger on the tip of his nose, first with his eyes open and then with his eyes closed. He did it once out of three times with his eyes open, but failed to do so with his eyes closed. He then asked him to bring his index fingers together with his eyes open and then with his eyes closed - which he did twice with his eyes open and only once with his eyes closed.
The defendant apparently swayed when asked to walk the length of the room and turn around.
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But he was able to pick up a coin from the floor.
"I asked him to put a key into a cupboard in the charge room," said the doctor giving evidence. "I showed him how to do it quite easily and he was able to do it but with difficulty and very great concentration."
Dr Williams was asked to copy some simple words and did so, but there were "several errors" in his writing.
The doctor pleaded not guilty to driving his car while under the influence of drink.
"He told me he had last eaten at 1 o'clock that afternoon and he had steak and the things that go with it," said the doctor giving evidence. "He told me he had drunk two gins and nothing else since that time."