Belgian man whose body produces alcohol in rare condition cleared of drunk driving

Credit: PA

A Belgian man has been cleared of drunk driving because he suffers from auto-brewery syndrome (ABS), a rare condition where the body produces its own alcohol, his lawyer said.

His lawyer, Anse Ghesquiere said that in “another unfortunate coincidence” her client works at a brewery, but three doctors who independently examined him confirmed he suffered from ABS.

Local media said that in the verdict, the judge emphasised that the defendant, who was not named due to local law custom, did not experience symptoms of intoxication.

The judge also refrained from issuing a driving ban due to his condition.

Those who have ABS can have symptoms similar to being drunk, including slurred speech, stumbling, loss of motor functions, dizziness and belching.

Lisa Florin, clinical biologist with Belgian hospital AZ Sint-Lucas, explained that people with the condition produce the same type of alcohol as the one in alcoholic drinks but that they generally feel less of its effects.

She added that people are not born with ABS but can get it when they already suffer from another intestine-related condition.

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