Footballer Saido Berahino has been found guilty of drinking and driving.
The Stoke City striker was almost three times the alcohol limit when his Range Rover was stopped in London’s West End at about 03:00 GMT on 18 February.
Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court heard the 25-year-old was arrested minutes after being robbed outside a cafe.
But magistrates said “the defendant was not in fear of death or fear of serious injury to himself or his companions”.
The court heard there was “no dispute” over the robbery, which was caught on CCTV, but defence lawyer Garry Green argued the crux of the case was “whether or not this defendant had to drive his car as a necessity”.
Chair of the bench Mark Oxenham said Berahino’s girlfriend had driven the car immediately beforehand and “could have continued the journey away from the scene”.
The court was told the Burundi-born footballer had previous convictions for drinking and driving in 2015 and being drunk in charge of a vehicle in 2012.
- Latest news from the West Midlands
On the night of his arrest, police were called to reports of a possible stabbing involving seven people outside the VQ Cafe, in Great Russell Street.
Berahino, of Old Penkridge Road, Staffordshire was behind the wheel of the car when police followed it the short distance to Bedford Square.
He was stopped and asked about the fight but said he had not seen anything, prosecutor Katie Weiss said.
PC Stephen Luu said Berahino appeared “nervous” and he could “smell alcohol on his breath”.
Berahino was found to have 103mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath, the court heard. The legal limit is 35mg.
He told police he was robbed, while his girlfriend said she believed her ex-boyfriend had arranged for Berahino to be attacked, the court heard.
His watch and two diamond necklaces were stolen.
Speaking in court, Berahino said: “I was scared. I had just been attacked and obviously my niece was there and I had to take action. I had to drive off from the scene.
“They had a knife and a gun as well.”
He said he did not immediately tell police about the robbery after they were called.
“In the past I have been in the media and I didn’t want anything to get out,” he said.
“It would jeopardise my career and I was scared of that.
“It’s had a massive impact on my career. The club has taken a stance on it. I was suspended from first team action to play for the team.
“That was the last thing I wanted.”
He will be sentenced at a date to be set.
Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, and sign up for local news updates direct to your phone.
Credit: Source link