View Full Version : Three times drinks driver loses car-UPDATE

03-Feb-12, 17:01
Accused also disqualified by sheriff and ordered to carry out 200 hours service in the local community
A WICK driver has become one of the first in Scotland to lose his car, after admitting his third drinks-driving offence.
William Simpson escaped prison and, in addition to losing his vehicle, was disqualified from driving for four years and ordered to carry out 200 hours community service.
The 57-year-old security officer will also require to resit his driving test and will be obliged to pursue a programme to combat his alcoholism.
Simpson previously admitted driving with excess alcohol on the Watten-Wick road, on January 9.
The court was told that a driver, travelling behind the accused on the A882 in the afternoon, was so concerned about the manner of his driving that he contacted the police.
Officers caught up with Simpson in the garage of his home in Janetstown, on the outskirts of Wick. A positive test there resulted in a breath-alcohol level of 136 mgs, almost four times the legal limit of 35mgs. Simpson’s earlier convictions were in 2003 and 2005.
The accused was arrested and his car was impounded. Today, senior fiscal depute, David Barclay again tabled his application for forfeiture of the vehicle, said to be worth between 9,000 and 10,000. He said that Crown Office had given guidance in such cases when they fell into a certain category. Fiscals were obliged to make an application for forfeiture but courts were in no way obliged to grant such motions.
Solicitor George Mathers said that, in any event, he not intend arguing against forfeiture and added that loss of his car was perhaps less of a concern than other implications of the offence, not least the possibility he might go to prison. The solicitor added: “Mr Simpson is frankly terrified of that prospect.”
Mr Mathers went on to outline how the accused’s life had gone downhill, after he had left the family business, following the death of his father 12 years ago.
The accused became addicted to alcohol and was twice convicted of drinks-driving, the latter offence carrying a disqualification of three years. He was diagnosed with diabetes and his life went into “a downward spiral” resulting in depression.
On January 9, Simpson was in particularly low. He had a couple of drinks in his house and then drove off to attend to some business, in Watten, stopping at an off-sales for more drink. However, he changed his mind and sat in a layby and drank, before returning home.
Mr Mathers said that the case was an exceptional one, given the extremely high reading and told Sheriff Andrew Berry that he would be “very justified” in ordering forfeiture of the accused’s car.
The accused was a hard-working family man, a good husband, but had to overcome his “chronic addiction to alcohol”.
Appealing for a non-custodial sentence, Mr Mathers said: “I have to accept that the public have a right to be protected from someone who drives while incapacitated through drink, and, clearly, the accused must be punished. But, sending the accused to prison, would not cure his underlying problem for which he is seeking help.”
Sentencing Simpson, Sheriff Berry told the accused that he had no right to have been driving with a very high reading, his third such conviction, which was “a very serious matter”.
The sheriff continued: “I have also to take into account that otherwise you are a man of good character and a hard-working responsible person. It is clear from the two references I have seen that you are very highly thought of by others, and I have no reason to doubt that. However, I have also to make it clear to you that this sort of behaviour cannot continue and that there will be serious punishments for those who act in a similar way. However, I am persuaded that your serious addiction to alcohol can be addressed and satisfied that justice can be met without sending you to prison.”
Sheriff Berry added that Simpson would require to sit an advanced driving after his disqualification ended and it was possible that he would not get his driving licence back.
The sheriff said that the fiscal’s application for forfeiture was “well founded” and, as a further part of the punishment, he would grant it. It would help to bring home to Simpson the consequences of his behaviour.