View Full Version : Drink- driving accused an exception?

30-Jun-13, 08:29
Thurso man was on way to visit seriously-ill father in hospital

A SHERIFF advised a drink-driving accused, who was on his way to see his father, seriously ill in hospital, that his case might be an exception to the rule.
Sheriff Andrew Berry declined to accept Sinclair Sutherland’s plea of guilty to the charge and advised him to get legal advice.
Sutherland, 53, who was unrepresented, told Wick Sheriff Court that he wished to plead guilty to the drinks-driving charge but after hearing the circumstances, Sheriff Berry decided to treat the case as continued-without-plea.
Fiscal depute, David Barclay, said that Sutherland, of 6 Moorside Avenue, Thurso, had received an emergency message from the police that his father was gravely ill in Caithness General Hospital.
A short time later, the accused was stopped by officers in Princes Street, Thurso, and following the usual roadside procedures was tested as having a breath-alcohol level of 76 microgrammes, more than twice the legal limit of 35mgs.
Mr Barclay conceded, however: “The catalyst for him driving was the urgent message he had received earlier, from the police.”
Sutherland confirmed to the sheriff that his father’s condition was the reason that had prompted him to drive.
Sheriff Berry said: “There are very few exceptions to a person driving a vehicle, having consumed excess alcohol but it appears that this may be such a case. “
The sheriff added that it was “very important” that Sutherland should consult a lawyer rather than “plead guilty in order to get matters over and done with – in your own interest and in the interest of justice which I have to try to promote and protect.”
The case was continued until July 26.