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11 January 2011, 15:20
An MP's wife has been given a suspended prison sentence and her son jailed after they admitted lying to cover up a drink-drive incident.
Fifty year old Jacqueline Binley claimed she was driving her son's car after he crashed it while more than two times over the drink-drive limit.
Last month, she and twenty seven year old Matthew Binley admitted conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Matthew Binley, who's is a former policeman, also admitted drink-driving in the incident, which happened in Northampton in May last year.
In court in Northampton the prosecutor said that Matthew Binley had been at a wedding on May 22 and was dropped off by a friend at his flat in Leicester Street, Northampton, at about 11.30pm.
He then decided to go to a nightclub with friends in the town centre and it was on his way home, in the early hours of May 23, that he crashed his Alfa Romeo into a kerb on Harbour Road and deflated a tyre.
Mr Reed said he called out a breakdown service to his vehicle and the recovery driver realised Binley was drunk and called police, who arrested him on suspicion of driving with excess alcohol.
Before officers arrived, Binley rang another police officer, who was a friend and former colleague, hoping for advice and told him: ``I've crashed my car and I'm p****d'', Mr Reed said.
The court heard Binley, who resigned from the police force before the incident happened, was found to have 86mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath - the drink-drive limit is 35mg/100ml.
In police interview he claimed the accident had happened as he was on the way to the wedding reception when he was sober, but he returned to his car later on.
The court heard that on August 1 Jacqueline Binley, who is separated from Brian Binley and does not live with him, handed a statement in to police in Northampton claiming she was the driver of the car.
In the statement she said she borrowed her son's car that night then had the crash after she swerved to avoid hitting a fox while her son was in the car, and was then picked up by a passing taxi.
Subsequent police investigations involved a search of the 27-year-old's bedroom at Brian Binley's home, he said, where they found a statement outlining his mother's involvement in her own words - but in Matthew Binley's handwriting.
Mr Reed also said the account claimed the taxi driver was a man called Brian, whereas the statement handed to police said he was an Asian man.
Investigations later found Jacqueline Binley had approached the taxi driver called ``Brian'' asking him to say he had picked her up in the early hours of May 23.
Referring to Matthew Binley's actions, he said: "Why would someone facing the potential inconvenience of a 12-month driving disqualification involve anyone else, let alone his own mother? The answer may lie in the fact that for some years he was a serving officer with Northampton Police. He believed he knew a way around the problem.''
Matthew Binley eventually admitted lying in his first statement to police in order to protect his mother and father, Mr Reed said.
Officers also spent longer investigating the incident because of the family's background, he said.
"Due to the household to which both defendants belonged,'' Mr Reed said, "it appears that from the clear knowledge Matthew Binley acquired from his service with the police and his clearly dishonest answers to the police, they expended many, many more hours in excess of what they would otherwise usually have done.''
The court also heard how Jacqueline Binley was prompted to tell police she was driving the car as an attempt to protect her son, who wanted eventually to return to the police force.
Ben Gow, representing Mrs Binley, said she demonstrated ``a misguided loyalty to her son'' and was also going through a difficult period in her life after separating from her husband.
The court also heard how the whole episode became too much for Mrs Binley, but she did not want to admit it to her son.
In a text message to a friend she wrote: "I'm so worried it's all going to blow up in my face. I just wish Matt would bite the bullet and take the rap. I'm beginning to resent him asking me but I daren't tell him to his face.''
Sentencing Matthew Binley to four months in prison and a two-year disqualification from driving, Judge Michael Fowler told him involving his mother in the enterprise to his own benefit showed a lack of respect for her and for the legal system.
He said: "It demonstrates, perhaps, a very casual attitude to the system of justice or a casual attitude as to what may become of your mother.''
Mrs Binley, who sat in the dock wearing a red scarf over a navy jacket, was given an eight-week prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work in the community.
Judge Fowler told her it was clear her motivation for taking part in the incident was to protect her son but she should have set an example and forced him to take responsibility for his own actions.
As her son was taken down, she briefly held his hand and watched as he was taken away by the dock officer.
She offered no comment as she left court.