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24th Apr 2024

Man with rare condition causing his body to produce alcohol cleared of drink driving

Nina McLaughlin

That’s one way to get away with it

A Belgian man has been cleared of drink driving charges due to a rare condition that causes his body to produce alcohol – even when he’s not drinking.

He was found to have auto-brewery syndrome, which means his gut naturally produces ethanol. This means that he shows the symptoms of being drunk, including slurred speech, belching and stumbling around, without having actually consumed any alcoholic beverages.

The 40-year-old just so happens to work as a brewer, which his lawyer said was “another unfortunate coincidence”.

He was first convicted of drink driving back in 2019, but he was not aware of his condition back then. Local media reports that he was baffled at the time, as he had not been drinking.

A few years later in 2022, he was pulled over by police once more, and was found to be over the limit again. It was around 4pm when he was stopped, and told officers that he had only had two beers the previous evening.

He was then independently examined by two doctors, who discovered his rare condition.

Local media reports that during one examination his body “massively converted the carbohydrates [he had been fed] into alcohol”, via Sky News.

A police-appointed doctor ran similar tests on the brewer, and came to the same conclusion that the man had auto-brewery syndrome.

It’s reported that he was not prosecuted for drink driving or given a ban, but measures were put in place for the future.

This includes making changes to his diet and having a breathalyser on hand to ensure he’s not driving while over the limit.

Anse Ghesquiere, the brewer’s lawyer, said that the court came to a force majeure, which means no party was accountable.

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