ACT News


Fall of the pirate king: Jon English caught drink driving

Famed rock singer, actor, and Pirates of Penzance star Jon English has appeared in an ACT court, charged with driving home under the influence of alcohol after a Canberra show last year.

But the rock star avoided getting a conviction for the offence, with Magistrate Bernadette Boss noting more than 40 years of excellent driving history.

"I'm in the unusual position of making a non-conviction order for a pirate king," Dr Boss said, prompting laughter in the court room.

The 63-year-old was starring in his Rock Revolution music spectacular at the Canberra Theatre on December 7.

He was signing autographs and meeting fans after the show, and drank a number of beers, the court heard.

English's lawyer said the star had mistakenly decided to drive home because Civic was busy, with few taxis available due to the lighting of the giant Christmas tree in Civic Square.


That broke Mr  English's long-held "mantra" of not drink driving, the music legend's lawyer told the court.

But just after midnight, as Mr  English drove along Theatre Lane in Civic, he was stopped by an officer conducting random breath testing.

He returned a positive result, and was taken to City Police Station for a further test.

About 40 minutes later, he recorded a blood alcohol level of 0.066 grams, just above the 0.05 legal limit.

The court heard the mistake was out of character for Mr English, who has maintained a clean driving record since he first hit the roads at the age of 17.

The prosecution said drink driving was a "serious offence" and there was a risk that Mr English's decision to drive could have injured someone.

Dr Boss agreed with Mr English's lawyer that a non-conviction order was appropriate.

The star's appearance in court caused a stir in the public gallery, and his lawyer told his client he might have to sign a few autographs on his way out.