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August 3, 2004

Deaf woman spat at police

From: ic Croydon, UK - Aug 3, 2004

A DEAF driver spat at police and assaulted officers who tried to question her about a suspected drink-drive offence.

Officers trying to question Susan Cronin, 46, did not realise her speech impediment was a normal characteristic of deaf people and thought she was drunk, Sutton magistrates heard on on July 18.

Cronin, of Welbeck Road, Carshalton, who had never been in trouble before, admitted assaulting police and failing to produce a specimen.

Catherine Pritchard, defending, said her client had been out with friends one evening in January and when they got to her home she invited them in. Later one of the men left and, as he did so, he smashed the window of her car.

Ms Pritchard said: "Cronin got into her car and followed. When she got home police were there and she began to get over-heated. She is hard of hearing and police said her speech was slurred and she was drunk. After seeing a video of her behaviour she was embarrassed at seeing herself behave in that way."

Leigh-Ann Wardman, prosecuting, said: "Cronin became extremely aggressive and would not answer any questions."

She was given a one-year conditional discharge, a two-year driving ban with 75 court costs and ordered to pay 50 compensation to a police officer.

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