The boss of an independent garage appeared before magistrates charged with drink-driving while on a “road-test” of a customer’s Audi A5 coupe.
Southampton magistrates were told he’d decided to use the car to drive home from work, but stopped off to meet friends at a bar in the city for a while.
Jhalman Rai, owner of J S Autos in Southampton, was spotted by police driving erratically in August 2023, and he was unsteady on his feet when they stopped him and asked him to exit the car.
PC Russell Tribe told the court: “I found it highly unlikely for the customer to allow their vehicle to be road tested at that time of night while under the influence of alcohol.“
Police also charged Rai with theft, as the customer, Albi Asimi, had not agreed for Jai to use the car for personal use.
Defending Rai, Nick Robinson said: “The test drive took place the day before was due to collect the car. was genuinely baffled at the suggestion that he was acting outside of the consent of the owner.
“ was doing what he was doing because as this was a necessary way to make sure the leak had stopped. This was a genuine road test.
“No disrespect to the Audi car, but it’s not like it was a Rolls-Royce that he was taking out for a pleasure spin.”
Rai pleaded guilty to drink-driving but was cleared of theft. He’s been disqualified from driving for 40 months and has been ordered to pay court fees totalling £785.