Neath-based AM Bethan Jenkins reveals regret over drink-drive charge shame
A NEATH-BASED Assembly Member has been banned from getting behind the wheel for 20 months after she was caught drink driving.
South Wales West AM Bethan Jenkins was stopped by police in Cardiff at 1.30am on October 14 after officers saw her driving erratically.
Cardiff Magistrates' Court heard that the 30-year-old — who pleaded guilty — was twice over the drink driving limit.
A blood test gave a reading of 194 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80.
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In a statement Miss Jenkins, whose office is based in Briton Ferry Road in Melin, said the incident was something which she regretted wholeheartedly. She said she was "deeply sorry".
The court heard Miss Jenkins, who was suspended from her party Plaid Cymru following the incident, had been at a friend's 40th birthday party the evening before.
The hearing revealed that rather than stay at her friend's address in the Welsh capital, she instead decided to drive back to her parents' home.
Prosecutor Ian Dawes said when officers pulled over Jenkins's car she was wearing pyjama bottoms and a hooded top.
He said: "In the early hours of October 14 police noticed the defendant's vehicle was being driven erratically and straying between lanes one and two.
"They later noticed the defendant was unsteady on her feet and her speech was slurred."
District Judge Bodfan Jenkins disqualified her from driving for 20 months with the option of doing a drink rehabilitation course would reduce it by five months. She was also fined £750 and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £75 victim surcharge.
In a statement, following Miss Jenkins' court appearance yesterday, she said: "On this occasion, I fell well below the standards I expect of myself and I therefore fully accept the judge's decision in this matter.
"I would like to thank the police for the manner in which they have dealt with this process.
"This has been a difficult period, in which I've begun to come to terms with depression for the first time.
"Friends and others, including many from South Wales West, the region I represent with tremendous pride, have shown wonderful support, for which I am truly thankful. I will always be grateful to them for their kindness, which has been a source of great comfort."
Chairman of the Plaid Cymru Assembly group Alun Ffred Jones said: "She is currently on sickness leave and her suspension from the group will continue until her return to work when the group will consider the matter further."