Drinks driver with a record escapes prison
A CONSULTANT engineer has escaped prison despite having a record for drinks driving.
Paul McCabe was breathalysed positive, after he was stopped in Castlegreen Road, Thurso, on May 19, by police who were concerned about the way his car was being driven.
Subsequent tests revealed a breath-alcohol level of 76 microgrammes, more than double the legal limit of 35mgs.
Wick Sheriff Court heard, yesterday, that McCabe, of 35 Round Riding Road, Dunbarton, was anticipating a lengthy period of disqualification and had sold his car.
Sheriff Andrew Berry, who saw a background report, stressed to the accused that a prison sentence had been "a very real possibility" given his previous convictions for similar offences.
The sheriff added: "The report sets out a number of matters which gives me a degree of confidence that there won't be further offending, critically that is it is unlikely you will drive in any event."
McCabe, 50, was ordered to carry out 225 hours unpaid work in the community. In addition he was banned from driving for four-and-a-half years and will require to sit and pass an extended driving test, should he decide to get behind the wheel after his ban.

Lorry driver "not a reliable and credible witness"

THE SHERIFF refused to believe an Invergordon lorry driver, who spent the night in his lorry after a drinking session in Thurso, and claimed he had no intention of driving the following day.
The accused. Brian Timoney, 27, denied having been in charge of his HGV while more than double the drinks-driving limit but was found guilty ater a trial at Wick Sheriff Court, yesterday. He was fined 300 and incurred ten points which took automatically triggered a six month driving ban under the totting-up procedure.
Written evidence agreed between the prosecution and the defence stated that police had roused Timoney in the cab of his lorry at Thurso's Riverside car park, about 6am on the morning of April 9, this year. Tests revealed a breath-alcohol level of 93mgs - the legal limit is 35mgs.
Timoney, the only witness in the trial, claimed that he had gone to watch football at a local pub on the day in question. He had consumed a few drinks although he was not accustomed to alcohol and described it as "a one off". He remembered nothing until the police arrived and arrested him. Although he had one delivery of animal feed to make in the area, the following day, he told the court there was no question of him driving as he would not have been fit. His Inverness boss came north and took the lorry south.
Fiscal David Barclay made the point that Timoney, of 90 Inverbreakie Drive, Invergordon, had been found in the cab and not "snuggled up comfy" in the
sleeping accommodation behind.
Sheriff Berry said that under the road traffic act, the statutory defence could be made out, if a driver could prove that the circumstances were such, that there was no likelihood of him driving.
The sheriff finding Timoney guilty added: "The balance of probability depends on whether I consider yourself to be a reliable and credable witness and I don't consider you were."
Timoney, who lost his job since the offence, was said to have been laid off from replacement work, servicing oil rigs in the Cromarty Firth but hoped to resume that employment. His partner was said to be expecting his baby early in the New Year.

Jailed for curfew breach

UNEMPLOYED Graham McPhee popped out, briefly, out to see a neighbour in the same block of flats... and fell foul of a curfew.
Police discovered he had left his flat at 13B Ormlie Road, Thurso, and charged him with breaching his bail condition requiring him to be at home between the hours of 7m and 7am, daily, Wick Sheriff Court heard yesterday.
McPhee, 29, admitted breaching a bail order, imposed at Wick Sheriff Court, last month when he admitted a charge of theft by housebreaking.
Fiscal Barclay said that the accused had simply walked into the neighbour's home and walk back out again on November 24.
Solicitor Neil Wilson said that McPhee had been under the influence of a legal high at the time. He had tried to explain to the police that he had not been outwith the block of flats but the solicitor said that, the accused was nevertheless outwith his own home and in breach of the curfew.
Sheriff Berry told McPhee that he had been lucky to have been granted bail,in the first place and had not long been out of prison when the breach had occurred.
The sheriff added that the accused, who appeared from custody, had a history of failing to comply with court orders on numerous occasions.
McPhee, 29, was jailed for three months, backdated to his arrest on November 25.