Presenter Banned

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Television presenter Alastair Stewart was today convicted of drink-driving. He was fined £3,000 and banned from driving for 23 months.

Stewart, who presents ITV1's Police Camera, Action! was more than three times over the limit when he crashed his car near Winchester last month.

Sentencing Stewart, chairwoman of the bench Julia Etheridge said: "You have pleaded guilty to an horrendous act of drink-driving.

"You, of all people, should realise the potential consequences that could happen.

"We have considered a custodial sentence. However, due to your remorse and your guilty plea at the earliest opportunity, we are going to deal with this by way of a disqualification and a fine."

Mrs Etheridge warned Stewart that if he drove during the period of disqualification, he could be imprisoned.

Stewart agreed to take part in a driver disqualification rehabilitation course, which will reduce his ban so he will be able to drive again in May 2005.

Rupert Pardoe, defending, said the producers of Police, Camera, Action! had decided following the incident that it was no longer appropriate for Stewart to present the show.

The presenter filmed his last two series of the ITV1 show, which he has hosted since the mid-'90s, at the end of 2002. An ITV1 spokesman said: "The two series haven't been shown and aren't scheduled yet."

His lawyer told magistrates his client was using drink to cope with stress caused by a heavy workload. Stewart also hosts ITV1's London Tonight.
 
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