Tuesday, 4 December, 2001
World snooker champion Ronnie O'Sullivan is to face a re-trial over an alleged driving offence, a district judge has ruled.
Multi-millionaire O'Sullivan, who is charged with failing to provide a urine sample on 4 June last year, will spend Wednesday - his 26th birthday - in the dock at Stratford Magistrates' Court in east London.
An application for the case to be dismissed following the collapse of his first trial in July, was rejected by District Judge Angus Hamilton.
The prosecution alleged at the first trial that police stopped O'Sullivan driving his £70,000 blue Porsche 911 at 50mph along Stratford High Street in the early hours of the morning.
He was alleged to have been racing two women, one of whom was wearing only a dressing gown, in an MG car.
But that trial was plagued by controversial incidents, which included magistrate William Rolstone admitting that he had demonstrated a breathalyser when the court was not in session.
The breathalyser was the one police used when they stopped O'Sullivan.
Later during the trial Mr Rolstone was accused of winking at a member of the press.
O'Sullivan's solicitor Nick Freeman, who was speaking at the time, challenged Mr Rolstone who replied: "Why would I wink at anybody? Do you think I'm gay or something?"
Mr Rolstone and his colleague later voluntarily withdrew from the trial.
On Tuesday, Mr Freeman told District Judge Hamilton that it would be unfair for O'Sullivan to face another trial, given the history of the case and the snooker player's health.
O'Sullivan was treated for clinical depression at the Priory Clinic in July last year and is taking medication on a daily basis, he said.
Mr Freeman said: "The trial should have taken place with the degree of judicial decorum one would expect. Regrettably that didn't happen."
Doctors regarded O'Sullivan as being "vulnerable" and if the proceedings continued there was "a significant risk of recurrence of the psychiatric symptoms", Mr Freeman said.
Mr Hamilton said the incidents which led to the collapse of the first trial were "most unfortunate", and conceded that a new trial might exacerbate O'Sullivan's health problems.
But that did not mean a re-trial should not go ahead, he said.
He set the new trial date for 5 December.
Wednesday, 5 December, 2001
World snooker champion Ronnie O'Sullivan has been cleared of an alleged driving offence.
The star, nicknamed The Rocket, had been accused of failing to give a urine sample after being stopped by police for suspected drink-driving.
But following medical evidence that he may have had psychological problems which prevented him from being able to urinate, he was cleared.
At a first trial in July, the court was told the multi-millionaire was stopped in his £70,000 blue Porsche 911 after being clocked doing 50mph along an east London high street in the early hours of the morning.
The prosecution alleged he was racing two women in an MG sports car.
That trial was plagued by controversial incidents and collapsed.
But at a retrial District Judge Angus Hamilton accepted evidence in his defence and dismissed the case.
Dr Stephen Robinson, a police surgeon, told Stratford Magistrates Court in east London that the star, who has been treated in celebrity clinic The Priory, could have had an "anxiety depressive disorder" preventing him being "able to go".
He said one consequence of this would be that a muscle on the bladder wall would relax, sending a signal to the brain that there was no pressure on it even when there was.
"It also tightens up the muscle that allows urine in the bladder to be released. It tightens up the stopper on the top, as it were."
Dr Robinson said the more pressure a person has on them in this situation the worse it will get for them.
"It is perfectly possible that at the time Mr O'Sullivan was physically unable to provide a urine sample."
In clearing Mr O'Sullivan, Judge Hamilton said: "I am satisfied that in this case there was cause for not being able to provide a sample."
A clearly relieved Mr O'Sullivan said he would be getting on with celebrating his 26th birthday.
He said he has now set his sights on the UK Championships, which started this weekend.
"I'm back on top of the world. I've got nothing to lose. I'm a very relieved person."