Man Charged As Drunk Driver Claims His Liver Produces Alcohol

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Anonymous

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A man who claims his liver produces alcohol will have an NHS operation in an effort to prove his innocence of a drink drive charge.
Douglas Harvey was found to be four times over the alcohol limit when he was stopped by police on the A9 between Perth and Inverness last November.

But he denied the charge at Perth Sheriff Court and said he had only drunk a half pint of bitter and a pub measure of whisky, three hours before being tested.

Mr Harvey, 47, of Ladybank Road, Dunshelt, Fife, said carcinogenic chemicals had affected his liver so that it makes alcohol, which is released into his bloodstream.

Lucky bastard!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/2178994.stm
 

DerekH16

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Maybe someone can correct or confirm this, but isn't the relevant law about having a certain amount of alcohol present in a sample, and not about how it got there?
 
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Yeah, doesn't matter where it came from. He'll either need to have his liver removed or just never drive again.
 

SoundDust

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he's gotta be taking the P*ss hasn't he

I want a liver that does that too .....:D
 
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well, that's the best excuse I've ever heard for being over the limit!:D
 
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This BBC news item says that it is possible for alcohol (or at least ethanol) to be produced in the liver. But I still think he's taking the p*ss - his liver would have to be in a very bad way for it to produce so much alcohol that a breathalyser registers over the limit.
 

rynner2

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This type of story is not new.

It's also true that the body produces chloresterol (in the liver?), so if you have a chloresterol problem it's not necessarily due to your diet.
 

mejane

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Er, in there a doctor in the house? Or a chemist?

As far as I know, "alcohol" is the generic term for any compound containing the –OH group. Ethanol - the good stuff :) - is converted into methanol and assorted esters by the liver (reaction with carboxlic acids).

So, more complicated alcohols could perhaps react to create ethanol... but it seems unlikely that he could digest enough without realising the effect it was having on him.

Incidently, methanol is the easiest alcohol to distill - having the lowest boiling point - and is extremely bad for you (blindness etc), hence the bad reputation of home-brewed moonshine!

Jane

(the above may be complete little-cow-hanging-down-bits, but its what I remember from organic chemistry studies!)
 

DerekH16

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Anyway, according to BBC Scotland's Ceefax pages, he'll be back in court next week with a doctor's report.

I still reckon that, technically at least, he's stuffed.
 
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Anonymous

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He should get a little tap implanted. Could save him a lot of money :D
 

JamesWhitehead

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I understand George Best has asked to go back on the waiting list
if this guy carries a card.

Compatible? A match made in heaven! :p
 

EnolaGaia

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A man who claims his liver produces alcohol will have an NHS operation in an effort to prove his innocence of a drink drive charge. ...
A long-belated update to close out the story first posted back in 2002 ...

Mr. Harvey dropped his challenge and accepted the charges and consequences. It seems he also dropped the effort to have his medical explanation for an elevated blood alcohol level (auto-brewery syndrome / fatty liver disease) verified by the NHS.

It remains unclear whether his medical allegation had any validity versus being pure fiction.
Drink-drive ban for 'human distillery'

A man who alleged that his liver produced alcohol has admitted drink-driving - after being stopped by police a second time.
Douglas Harvey also dropped his attempt to prove that he was a human distillery when he appeared at Perth Sheriff Court.

As he left court the former ship's captain said he had no plans to drive again.

Harvey admitted driving on the A9 in November last year while almost four times over the legal drink limit.

He had previously denied the charge and argued that a liver problem was responsible for producing the alcohol in his system. ...

Harvey was banned from driving for five years and fined a total of £450.

In relation to the earlier charge, Harvey - who is now unemployed - had originally claimed that he only drank one whisky and a half pint of beer three hours before he was stopped.

Solicitor Lindy Gill, who appeared initially for Harvey, said her client's liver reacted "abnormally".

"As a result of this, instead of ridding the body of alcohol as it's supposed to, it actually generates alcohol," she said.

However, when asked about the reading on Thursday, Mr Paterson said his client now accepted it was accurate. ...

After the court appearance Harvey donned a See You Jimmy hat and told reporters he was going for "a nice quiet pint".

He said: "My liver was producing alcohol, but it's not now.

"For the first time in 15 years my liver is clear. I have had it double checked.

"I pled guilty because I was wrong. I don't intend to drive again."
FULL STORY: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/2546767.stm
 
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