Woman with nationwide drink banning order back in court

A woman who became the first person to be banned from drinking alcohol in a public place anywhere in England and Wales was back in court today, after police spotted her sitting on a town centre wall with a can of lager.

Laura Hall, 20, was arrested by officers in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, in the early hours of Sunday morning.  At Redditch Magistrates’ Court today she pleaded guilty to breaching the drinking banning order and admitted being drunk and disorderly in a public place.   The ban, imposed by magistrates in Kidderminster last month, prohibited Hall from entering a pub, bar, club or off-licence for two years.

The drinking banning order also bans Hall from buying alcohol in any public place across England and Wales.  Stephen Harris, prosecuting, told the court Hall was “shouting and swearing in the street” when police saw her with a group of friends in Worcester Road, a designated alcohol-free zone, at 2.15am.  He said a police officer warned her not to drink any alcohol but she shouted: “I want to go to the f****** offie (off licence) and get some beer”.

Katie Oliver, defending, said Hall had been drinking at a friend’s house on Saturday night and admitted having the can of lager in her possession but denied drinking from it.  She said Hall has a “difficult” relationship with her parents and a “considerable problem” with alcohol, adding: “She does not offend when she is not intoxicated.”  Lyn Jones, chair of the bench, ordered Hall, of no fixed abode, to pay a fine of £100, plus court costs of £85 and a £15 victim surcharge.  She said: “Your order is still in place and it will remain as such”.

The fine will be deducted from Hall’s Job Seekers Allowance payments, magistrates said.

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