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Ricky 'let off the hook'
Cape Town - Drunk driving charges against Springbok rugby scrumhalf Enrico Januarie were withdrawn in the Bellville Magistrate's Court on Friday, on condition he does 20 hours of community service.
Januarie was ordered to coach rugby at schools selected by the National Institute for Crime Prevention and Re-integration of Offenders.
He is expected to do this between February 8 and July 31 in the Elsiesrivier community in the Cape Flats, prosecutor Marco Chandler told magistrate Helma Smit.
The decision by the Western Cape Directorate for Public Prosecutions (DPP) was in line with the "diversion system", in which young offenders are punished for crimes without subjecting them to the trauma of a criminal trial and the devastation of a criminal record.
The DPP letter excused Januarie from community service from March 29 to April 27, when he would be abroad with the Springbok rugby team.
Smit reminded Januarie that there were thousands of young people who regarded him as a role model, and that his offence had sent the wrong message to them.
She said she hoped the rugby star would "make full use of this opportunity".
Januarie has been on trial since last year and during this time failed to appear in court twice -- once with the consent of the court and the other without -- whilst he was overseas with the Springboks.
The court case stemmed from an early-hour motor collision in Durbanville in September 2008.
His blood report reflected a blood-alcohol level of 0.18 percent, more than three times the current legal limit of 0.05 percent.
Januarie was represented in court by the Springbok rugby team's attorney, Frikkie Erasmus, who assured the court he had fully explained the diversion system to Januarie, and that the charge would be re-instituted if he failed in any manner to perform the community service as required .