Nightmare driving scenario became a reality

A SHERIFF described the average driver’s nightmare... to come face to-face with an oncoming vehicle travelling on the wrong side of the road with a drinks driver at the wheel.
It actually happened, however, Wick Sheriff Court was told today, when George McPhee admitted charges of driving carelessly and with excess alcohol.
The court heard that McPhee ,23 ,was negotiating a dip at Oldhall, Watten, on the main Wick-Thurso road, on, November 20, when he suddenly veered across the road into the path of an oncoming vehicle which was unable to take evasive action. A collision occurred and both vehicles were damaged.
Senior fiscal depute, David Barclay, said that when police interviewed McPhee, they got the smell of alcohol and a breath test prove positive. It resulted in a reading of 56 micrograms-the legal limit is 35mgs.
Solicitor Haseeba Tariq said that McPhee was asked to give someone a lift to Thurso but nominated another person, as the accused was aware he might still have alcohol in his system. However, McPhee, who lives in Leith Walk, Wick, drove on the return journey, thinking he was fit to do so by then.
Ms Tariq said that that the accident was due to a lack of concentration on McPhee’s part. He appreciated the seriousness of his actions, in particular, that the consequences could have been much more serious.
Sheriff Andrew Berry called for background reports and continued the case for four weeks to see if McPhee secured the employment he was hoping for, and would be able to provide a clearer picture of his income. The sheriff indicated he was considering a large financial penalty and imposed an interim disqualification on McPhee.


Driver landed in a garden

A THURSO driver went off the road and into a garden, the court was told.
Matthew Mackay,of Heathfield Road, Thurso, admitted driving carelessly on the Thurso-Reay road, on October 21, last year.
Mr Barclay said that when interviewed by the police, Mackay,26, explained that the back end of his car slid and he over-corrected but lost control, left the road and came to rest against a tree, in a garden.
Solicitor Neil Wilson said that the accused was in “an awkward position” as he already had three points on his licence but would not lose his job, if banned, although loss of his licence would make things difficult for him.
Sheriff Berry who commented that Mackay had “an unfortunate history of road traffic offences” fined him 450 and banned him from driving for three months.


Can’t repay cash says Thurso man who stole from employer

A THURSO man who defrauded his former firm of almost 4000 is unable to pay back the cash, Sheriff Berry was advised today.
The accused, Graham Mackay, of St John’s House, Thurso previously admitted defrauding a Co-op store, in the town and he was said to be trying to raise a bank loan to obtain funds to finance compensation.
However, when he reappeared for sentence, today, his solicitor, Michael , revealed that Mackay, 24, had been unsuccessful, and, as he had lost his job, would be unable to repay the money.
Mr Chapman questioned whether it was legal to make a compensation order, when there was a company involved.
Sheriff Berry said that civil proceedings to recover the money, was an option open to the Co-op,and added that he would be “surprised” if the company did not avail themselves of it.
The sheriff described the fraud as “an extremely serious matter, involving a person “in a position of trust” and ordered Mackay, a first offender, to carry out 160 hours of unpaid community service.
The accused was a supervisor in the store but departed from the usual practice of counting the takings with another member of staff. Discrepancies were noticed in the receipts and the amount banked, between February and April, last year,and suspicion fell on the accused.


Fraud case dropped

THE case against a Lithuanian man, accused of a cheque fraud in the far north, involving thousands of pounds, has been dropped meantime.
The charge alleged that 26-year-old Raimondas Beconis presented a cheque for 16,850 at the Bank of Scotland's Thurso branch, on May 26, payable to the Wick Slaughterhouse Company but which had been altered to the accused's own name, in an attempt to secure the cash.
Beconis denied the charge,previously, when his trial was fixed and he was bailed to an address in London.
However, when the case was called again, today, senior fiscal depute, Mr Barclay announced that he was deserting the case, pro loco et tempore, which means that the case is being dropped meantime but could still be recalled at some point in the future.


Man wouldn’t back off

A THURSO man who involved himself in a police inquiry in the town’s Sir George’s Street, early one morning, ended up being arrested himself.
Dean Meiklejohn, of Royal Terrace, Thurso, admitted threatening to assault an officer, resisting arrest and smashing a window. The offences occurred early on November 14, while the accused was on bail.
It was stated that Meiklejohn,21, ignored a police request to “back off” and an off-duty special constable, who happened to be in the vicinity, intervened, and attempted to persuade him to leave matters, without success.
Mr Barclay said that Meiklejohn’s reaction was to threaten to “break the constable’s face”. This attracted the attention of police officers nearby, and, while attempting to handcuff the accused, he took off but was pursued and detained.
The case was continued until February 28, for background reports.