View Full Version : Keiss driver loses licence...keeps car

30-Jan-12, 17:48
Sheriff says forefeiture "not an appropriate and necessary thing to do"

A KEISS driver lost his licence but not his car when he was sentenced at Wick Sheriff Court today.
Sheriff Andrew Berry allowed Ian Campbell to keep his high-powered car. Instead the accused was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work in the community and banned from driving for two years and eight months.
The sheriff said he didn’t regard as being “an appropriate or necessary thing to do”- to grant an application by senior fiscal depute, David Barclay for forfeiture of Campbell’s high powered car which was impounded after the 51-year-old oil worker’s Audi RS4 Quatro collided with a car driven by an 81-year-old pensioner, at a roundabout in Wick, on December 29.
The accused produced a breath-alcohol reading of 117 after being arrested at his home, Greenbraes Southbraes, Keiss, more than two hours later. Campbell appeared in court the following day and admitted having driven carelessly and with excess alcohol and background reports were called for.
At that sitting of the court, solicitor Neil Wilson, submitted that forfeiture of the car would be “a disproportionate punishment” given that the car was worth some 23,000. Under new legislation brought in, in December, courts were empowered to order forfeiture for drinks drivers with drinks level three times the legal limit.
Today, Sheriff Berry referring to case law, said that forfeiture was not automatic and would only be appropriate in exceptional circumstances.
Solicitor Neil Wilson submitted that Campbell did not have a previous conviction for drinks driving, there was no underlying problems, he had immediately accepted his guilt and there was nothing exceptional to justify anything over and above normal punishments.
Sentencing Campbell, the sheriff said that he had taken these considerations into account and also the fact that the accused had spent a night in jail.
The application for forfeiture of his car had been properly made by the fiscal but there was no rule stating that because a drinks-driving reading was a certain amount, therefore a court must forfeit the offender’s vehicle.
Sheriff Berry continued: “That is not the law. If I understand it correctly, I have to consider, in the overall disposal of the case that it is an appropriate and necessary thing to do. In conclusion I take the view it is not, and it is not part of the punishment I should impose.”
However, the sheriff went on to say that what remained were two “serious matters”. There was a collision, and an alcohol level which was more than three-times the legal limit and was “wholly unacceptable”.
Sheriff Berry told Campbell: “If you had had a history of similar offending, then I suspect that a prison sentence would have been very much on the forefront of my mind. “
The sheriff added that the disqualification had to be substantial in the public interest and would also impose a community payback order. Campbell, who was warned about the consequences of driving while disqualified, was admonished on the careless driving charge.