A motorist in Belgium with an extremely rare medical condition that makes his body produce its own alcohol has had a drink-driving charge against him dismissed this week.

    As reported by ABC News, the 40-year-old Belgian man suffers from auto brewery syndrome (ABS), which causes carbohydrates in his stomach to be fermented and increase ethanol levels in his blood, resulting in signs of intoxication.

    The gentleman, who has been left unnamed in line with local judicial customs, was pulled over in April 2022 and registered a breathalyser reading of 0.91 milligrams of alcohol per litre, and then 0.71mg/l in a separate reading a month later.

    For reference, the legal limit in Belgium is 0.22 milligrams per litre of air exhaled, which is equivalent to a blood alcohol level of 0.5g per litre.

    The gentleman’s lawyer, Anse Ghesquiere, told Reuters that her client also works at a brewery in “another unfortunate coincidence”, though the motorist’s medical condition was confirmed by three independent doctors.

    According to coverage by Belgian media as reported by ABC News, the judge overseeing the case “emphasised that the defendant did not experience symptoms of intoxication”.

    Further, the court recognised that unforeseen factors applied to this case and the Belgian gentleman was acquitted of the charges.

    The motorist was apparently unaware of his condition before he was pulled over by police.

    Ms Ghesquiere told the publication she and her client were still awaiting formal confirmation of the charges being dropped, though she noted the prosecution has a month to lodge an appeal on the ruling if it chooses to do so.

    In the meantime, the motorist is said to be “following a carbohydrate-light diet to avoid his stomach producing more alcohol”.

    James Wong

    James Wong is the Production Editor at CarExpert based in Melbourne, Australia. With experience on both media and manufacturer sides of the industry, James has a specialty for product knowledge which stems from a life-long obsession with cars. James is a Monash University journalism graduate, an avid tennis player, and the proud charity ambassador for Drive Against Depression – an organisation that supports mental wellness through the freedom of driving and the love of cars. He's also the proud father of Freddy, a 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI .

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