Watford teacher on probation for impaired


Blake Ellis
Local Journalism Initiative

A Watford French teacher has been placed on probation after being found with an open can of beer in his car.
Michael Dunning, who teaches in Strathroy, failed to stop at a stop sign and was driving erratically throughout Watford, in the evening of April 23.
Police stopped him at a dead end on St. Clair Street. He had an open beer in the centre console of his car. He admitted to drinking when asked by police.  A Breathalyzer test revealed that he was over the legal limit. 
 Dunning plead guilty to the lesser charge of careless driving in Sarnia court on March 16.
At the time, Dunning was under a court order not to be drunk outside his home and was on probation for making threats against his former partner.
Defence Lawyer Rob Farrington explained alcohol abuse led to the break-up of his marriage.
Dunning took steps to deal with his addiction before appearing before the court, as he completed a substance abuse program last summer, the lawyer told court.
“He is abstinent and in a stable place in his life right now,” said Farrington. 
 Dunning is to serve probation for one year and pay a $1,250 fine. During the first 30 days of his probation order, he is not to drive, unless he is going to work or school. He is to always have a blood-alcohol level of zero while driving.
The Ontario College of Teachers’ website indicates his teaching certificate is in good standing. He teaches French in Grade 4 to 8 at Our Lady Immaculate Catholic School in Strathroy with the London District Catholic School Board.

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