‘Sleepwalking’ Swedish man acquitted of drunken driving charges

November 2nd, 2010 - 6:41 pm ICT by ANI  

Sweden, Nov 02 (ANI): A Swedish man has been acquitted of drunken driving charges after a court could not rule out the possibility that he could have been asleep when he got behind the wheel.

The blood alcohol level of the 51-year-old man was 1.85 per mille, which is nearly ten times Sweden’s legal limit of 0.2 per mille revealed court papers.

The man, who does not remember how he got to be in the driver’s seat, woke up one evening last May to find his car in a ditch in Karlskrona in southern Sweden.

“He fell asleep around 9pm. After that, he doesn’t remember anything except that his next memory is that he woke up in the ditch outside his car together with a male named Magnus,” the Local quoted the Blekinge District Courts ruling.

“He had on his nightshirt, sweatpants and slippers,” the ruling revealed.

The man explained to officers that he was on his way to replenish his supply of snus, a wet snuff tobacco product popular in Sweden, and claimed that he didn’t feel under the influence when he got in his car and that he recalled veering off into the ditch and slamming into a post.

The court cited an opinion written by the man’s doctor following the accident explaining that he may have suffered from somnambulism or sleepwalking.

“Somnambulism is a well known medical phenomenon where a person can carry out complex behaviours like walking, eating and making food, driving a car and having sex without actually being awake or aware of what’s happening,” the doctor stated in court documents.

The doctor explained that the man had previously displayed behaviour that could be interpreted as sleepwalking after having taken the same pills he took the evening of the accident.

The court in its ruling stated, “it cannot be shown beyond a reasonable doubt” that the man “was aware of his actions when he drove his car” to the extent required to find him guilty of drunken driving. (ANI)

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