Occupants of car spilled out "like a starburst" after police arrived on scene
A THURSO driver was convicted of being drunk-in charge of her car - by a single microgram.
Supermarket worker Leanne Mackay denied the borderline charge and a trial heard that, according to an expert, had a blood test at Thurso police station been taken, three minutes later, she would have been marginally below the 80mgs limit.
Mackay, 21, came to the notice of the police during a late-night routine patrol in Thurso on August 22, last year.
Constable David Soutar told Wick Sheriff Court that he and a colleague observed “an inordinate” number of people getting out of a silver Vauxhall Corsa, in Traill Street, Thurso.
He said that there was a total of seven people 'spilling' out of the vehicle “like a starburst” – two of them getting out of the boot – the last of them being Mackay who had come out of the driving seat and appeared to be hiding behind some parked vehicles, after passing something to one of her companions who appeared to be “fleeing the scene”.
Constable Soutar said that one of the accused’s companions produced the keys. Mackay was breathalysed and provided a blood sample at the local police station. The officer said that the car had been parked directly below a CCTV camera and he talked the court through the relevant footage.
He described it as showing the group getting into the vehicle, and Mackay, apparently reaching for her seatbelt, then everyone getting out of the vehicle, after, it seemed, that they had been warned of the police approaching.
Giving evidence, Mackay, of 7 Stroma Road, Thurso, insisted that it had never been her intention to drive. The group had been drinking in a local hotel and on leaving, she had reached into the car to pick up her mobile phone. She denied reaching for her seatbelt or hiding. Her companions had piled into the car for a lark and she had had great difficulty in getting them out.
Mackay also rejected the suggestion that the fact the driver’s window had been opened to enable the windscreen to clear in anticipation of driving away.
Fiscal depute, David Barclay said: ”Is it not the case that, on the night in question, you were ready to drive off and when the police arrived on the scene, you and your mates scarpered?”
Mackay replied: “No.”
The time-scale involving the blood test level was produce as written evidence agreed by the prosecution and defence.
Sheriff Andrew Berry described the accused’s explanation as “improbable” and “patently untrue”. He added that he had no hesitation in finding her guilty.
Mackay was fined 200 and banned from driving for six months.