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View Full Version : Additional cases from yesterday's sheriff court session



Nwicker60
13-Oct-12, 10:11
Isles accused admits drinks-driving despite problem tests


A DRIVER owned up to being unfit through drink behind the wheel although there were no tests supporting the offence.
The roadside breath test in Traill Street, Thurso didn't work, nor did the follow-up one at the local police station. There was also a problem with the blood samples taken from Michael Johnston.
Lab technicians were "unhappy" with the way these had been packaged and refused to analyse them, Sheriff Andrew Berry heard yesterday prompting him to comment on the "unusual cirmcumstances" of the case.
Despite the “catalogue of difficulties”, Johnston accepted that he had been unfit to drive on July 21 when he had come over from Orkney to attend the Caithness County Show and pleaded guilty to driving while unfit through drink or drugs.
The accused who lives at New House, Clestrain, Orphir, had a plea of not guilty to a further charge of dangerous driving, accepted by David Barclay, prosecuting.
Earlier, Mr Barclay told the court that the police had been looking for a driver after becoming concerned about his driving and spoke to 33-year-old Johnston. They got the smell of alcohol and further inquiries revealed evidence he had been drinking, earlier.
Mr Barclay said: "Witnesses saw the accused drinking but he didn't appear to be drunk. However, there was evidence to indicate he had crossed the line of being fit to drive."
Solicitor Eric Bejal described the problems with the various tests as "a catalogue of difficulties".
He went on: "The roadside breathalyster didn't work nor did the one at the police station. Lab staff were not happy at the way the police had packaged the blood samples and would not analyse them. However, Johnston accepted the police were right and that he was over the limit."
The plant operator was "highly embarrassed" and apologised for his actions. He appreciated that driving with drink was "stupid"..
Mr Bejal, added: "His mother is with him, in court, today, and is less than impressed with what has happened."
Sheriff Andrew Berry said he took into account the "unusual circumstances whereby this matter comes to court today".
He fined Johnston 400 and banned him from driving for a year. The accused can reduce the disqualification by a quarter if he successfully completes the drinks-driving rehabilitation course.

Careless driver till fit to drive at 90

A 90-year-old man who blotted his driving copybook for the very first time, was said to be still fit to drive.
Thomas Farquharson, of 63 Castlegreen Road, Thurso admitted a charge of careless driving.
The pensioner was said to have overtaken a car making a right-hand turn in front of him on the A99 at Auckengill, on August 19.
Mr Barclay said that Farquharson attempted to overtake the vehicle and the result was a collision. He had wrongly believed that the other car was stationary. Mr Barclay added: "The police thought that he appeared to be hard of hearing but that was as far as it went."
Sheriff Berry saw a letter from the accused's GP who saw "no reason" why he should be unfit to drive.
Solicitor Fiona Macdonald agreed and made the point: "His driving ability will be regularly assessed given his age. Mr Farquharson fully expects to lose his licence today and has made other arrangements.".
However, the accused was allowed to carry on driving. The sheriff commented that accused's fitness to drive was an issue that obviously had to be considered but his GP had dealt with it.
Farqhuarson was fined 200 and uncurred three penalty points.

Overtook on blind bend

Stephen Jackson overtook a vehicle on a blind bend on the A9’s notorious Berriedale Braes.
Then his van overtook a further two vehicles forcing the drivers to take evasive action and narrowly missing an oncoming motorist.
Jackson,33, admitted dangerous driving on August 22 and a record.
His solicitor, Neil Wilson said that the accused, a qualified HGV driver had been working in the north, as a delivery driver and had doubtless been “in something of a hurry”.
Jackson, he added, was going to return south to live with his sister at 28 Roseberry Avenue, Morecambe.
He was ordered to carry out 90 hours unpaid community service and was banned from driving for a year.

Swore at neighbour

John Macdonald was annoyed with his new neighbours in a Caithness hamlet whom he believed were watching him and gossiping about him.
And when he was cycling past one of them, 80-year-old Margaret Mackay, who lives in No7 Thura Place, Bower, he lost his temper and shouted and swore at her.
It was stated that Macdonald, 45, had become frustrated after moving into the No 9, a few months previously, about people gossiping about his past history.
He was cycling past Ms Mackay's house and when he saw her had allowed things to "get to him" on the day in question, August 4 when he had acted "inappropriately".
Solicitor Neil Wilson referring to Macdonald's record said the accused had completed a community payback order, earlier this year.
Macdonald had moved into the area in a bid to put his past behind him. However, Mr Wilson said: "Inevitably, neighbours had found out about it and he felt they were watching him and appreared to be keeping an eye on him. He found this unsettling and upsetting and felt this person was watching him at the time, for no reason."
Sheriff Berry ordered who pleaded guilty to threatening or abusive behaviour, to carry out 66 hours unpaid community service in the hope that there would be no recurrence of the incident. He also imposed a non-harrassment order preventing the accused from bothering Ms Mackay for a two-year-period.