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Salman Rushdie's son convicted for drunk driving in UK

PTI November 09, 2014 6:52 IST
PTI

London: The London-based son of famous British Indian author Salman Rushdie has been convicted of drink driving after he was found asleep at the wheel of his BMW.

Zafar Rushdie, 35, pleaded guilty to the charge last week and was banned from driving for 17 months and also fined 620 pounds which he paid on the spot at a magistrates court here.

The PR company boss of celebrity talent company Rushide Media was on his way home from a drinks evening when he was discovered slumped over the wheel at more over twice the alcohol limit at the traffic lights 100 yards from his flat in Hampstead area of north London on August 1.

Prosecutor Emily Maunders said officers following in a marked police car knocked on the window of his BMW X5 when the traffic lights turned green twice and the vehicle made no attempt to move.

"The defendant was described as either being asleep or having a medical episode. They banged on the window and there was no response. They continued on four or five occasions. He then appeared to wake, and he appeared confused and under the influence," she said in court.

Rushdie was taken into custody, where a test revealed he had 182mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood, against a legal limit of 80mg.

His defence lawyer Mark Haslam pleaded for leniency claiming the eldest son of 'The Satanic Verses' author had been suffering "personal relation problems" on the night and was "tired" from raising money for charity.

"I do ask you to undertake a balancing exercise in balancing his good character," he said.

Chairman of the bench Mark Beattie, however, told Rushdie: "We must disqualify you".

Rushdie was also ordered to pay 85 pound costs and a 15 pound victim surcharge.

The conviction throws wedding plans for him and his fiance, soprano Natalie Coyle, into disarray.

The couple had got engaged in July and planned to marry in New York next September.

However, the conviction could hamper Rushdie's travel to the US over the next 17 months.