Deputy senior state counsel fined, gets ban for drink driving

A lawyer at the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) was fined $1,600 and disqualified from driving for a year after he pleaded guilty to a drink-driving charge yesterday.

Jeyendran Jeyapal, 39, a deputy senior state counsel, had 48 micrograms (mcg) of alcohol in every 100ml of breath while driving in the vicinity of Singapore General Hospital earlier this year.

The accused, a former High Court assistant registrar, had exceeded by 1.37 times the prescribed limit of 35 mcg for driving. The court heard that around 5am on Feb 11, Jeyendran was driving home along Outram Road when he was stopped by a Traffic Police officer as he turned into Second Hospital Avenue.

The officer, who was on road block duty, found the accused's breath smelled of alcohol and did a breathalyser test, which he failed.

Jeyendran was arrested and taken to the Traffic Police Division for a breath specimen analysis, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Bhajanvir Singh.

When the second test showed he had been driving while under the influence of alcohol, Jeyendran admitted he had consumed a glass of alcoholic cocktail at a pub at about 4am.

He was celebrating the birthday of a friend, he said in his mitigation plea. He said that although he told his friend he wanted only a soft drink, he was given an alcoholic cocktail, which his friend claimed was a light alcoholic drink.

Jeyendran drank it "reluctantly" as he "did not want to disappoint his friend", the court heard. He also said he felt "normal and steady" as he was getting into his car.

District Judge Victor Yeo said, in sentencing, that "it would make little difference that it was his friend who purchased the drink or had made him believe that it was a light drink". But he acknowledged Jeyendran had no other aggravating factors, such as speeding or reckless driving, nor did he cause any damage to property or injure anyone.

For drink driving, first-time offenders can be jailed for up to six months or fined between $1,000 and $5,000. Repeat offenders can be jailed for up to a year and fined between $3,000 and $10,000.

Responding to media queries, the AGC said it takes a "serious view of offences committed by our officers and will not hesitate to take appropriate actions against them".

"In this case, AGC promptly initiated prosecutorial action against the offending officer... As the upholder of the rule of law, AGC expects our officers to uphold high standards of integrity and discipline," its spokesman added.

But the spokesman did not say whether Jeyendran will face disciplinary action.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 11, 2018, with the headline 'Deputy senior state counsel fined, gets ban for drink driving'. Print Edition | Subscribe