View Full Version : Cases from yesterday's sheriff court session

01-Dec-12, 09:13
Three times the drinks legal limit accused claimed he was fit to drive the court hears

A SHERIFF expressed concern yesterday about the claim made by a motorist that he thought was fit to drive... despite being almost three-times the drinks-drive limit.
Rory McCallum’s amazing belief in his ability, emerged in a background report which prompted Sheriff Gordon Fleetwood’s comment.
He said that the offence could have warranted a jail term, given it was McCallum’s second such charge, but instead imposed the alternative on the 34-year-old, requiring him to carry out 135 hours unpaid community service and banned him from driving for four years.
Wick Sheriff Court was told that police had occasion to stop the 34-year-old in Princes Street, Thurso on November 7, and noted he was unsteady on his feet. A positive breath test led to a further test at Thurso police station which revealed a reading of 113mgs – the legal limit is 35mgs.
Sheriff Gordon Fleetwood referred to McCallum’s “worrying record” and, commenting on the accused’s opinion that he was fit to drive, observed from the background report that the driver had stated he had not had been drinking for 12 hours prior to being arrested.
In addition to the ban and community service, McCallum, of Chalet 1, Juniper Bank, Thurso, was also ordered to taking counselling for alcohol abuse, if required to do so by his community service supervisor.

Re-think ordered on drunk-in-charge case

THE SHERIFF has refused to deal with a borderline case of drunk-in-charge of a car despite the driver putting forward a guilty plea.
Sheriff Fleetwood ordered a re-think on the case and instructed that it be noted as “continued without plea”.
In the dock was Leanne Mackay, 21, of 7 Stroma Road, Thurso, who admitted having been in charge of a car while she had a blood-alcohol count of 81 – a single microgram above the legal limit.
Senior fiscal depute, David Barclay said that police arriving at the scene in Traill Street, Thurso on August 22, saw Mackay and some of her friends getting out of the car .
Mr Barclay added: “The accused indicated that she had gone into the car to get her phone.”
However, solicitor Fiona Macdonald said the group had been in Thurso for a night out and Mackay had taken a decision not to drive her car. Some high-jinks ensued and her friends got into the car.
Ms Macdonald said: “Mackay went into the car for the sole reason of getting them out of the vehicle.”
Sheriff Fleetwood expressed doubt that the plea tendered was “appropriate”. There was no reasonable prospect that Mackay intended to drive, far less that her ability was impaired given the blood-alcohol reading.
The sheriff told Mr Barclay:”According to your narrative, the accused went into the car to get her telephone. There is nothing to indicate she was likely to drive or there was any prospect of her doing so.”
Continuing the case without plea until December 17, to enable further discussion to take place between the prosecution and the defence, Sheriff Fleetwood added that he was not prepared to sentence someone of being in charge of a car when over the limit, when he was given information that the position was actually the opposite and there was nothing to indicate guilt.”

Drug user owned up

JAMES McPhee owned up immediately he was tackled by staff in a Wick pub who suspected him of having drugs in his possession.
McPhee, a 21-year-old electrician handed the ‘4 of a gram of cocaine over and went straight to the police station where he made “a full and frank admission”.
The accused pleaded guilty to possessing the Class A drug in Harper’s Bar, on September 29, and was fined 400.
Solicitor Neil Wilson said it had been “a one-off, stupid mistake” of which the accused, a first offender, of 16 Glamis road, Wick, was “thoroughly ashamed”.

Strip game was organised by child minder

A BIZARRE strip game-of-chance in a Highland house left one youngster in her bra and pants and another wearing only his boxer shorts.
Darren Cross, who conducted the game, which involved spinning a bottle, was naked when it finished.
The court heard that the exact date of the offence was unknown but had occurred in a Thurso house between April 1, 2006 and May 4, 2007, and had came to light by accident. The 26-year-old accused admitted indecent behaviour, on indictment. He was put on probation for three years and will carry out 200 hours community service.
Sheriff Fleetwood who described it as "a worrying case", was told that that Cross, from Elgin, was child-minding while his partner and the mother of one of the children, were out for the evening.
The child-minder and the four youngsters present, aged between 7 and 12 years, went upstairs to a bedroom where the accused explained the game.
Whoever the neck of the spinning bottle stopped at, had to remove an item of clothing and, said Mr Barclay, prosecuting, the game ended, with the 11-year-old girl in her bra and pants and a nine-year-old boy in his boxer shorts.
Mr Barclay added that Cross had removed all of his clothes by this time.
Turning to the timescale of the case, the senior fiscal depute said that police, were questioning witnesses on April 6, last year about an unrelated matter, when information emerged which prompted officers to make further inquiries about the bottle strip game.
The accused will also require to participate in the northern joint sex offenders project, during his probation.