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Dangerous Driving, Elgin, 20 April 2018, Not Guilty

In this case a minimum disqualification for drink-driving, together with a Not Guilty for leaving the scene of an accident, was also accomplished.

The charges against our client were initially very serious indeed. It was alleged that he had been drinking in local establishments for several hours (of which he police claimed to have found CCTV footage). There was also evidence from bar staff that our client had been drinking. It was then alleged that he drove at speeds in excess of 100mph and crashed into another vehicle before colliding with a tree. It was finally alleged that our client left the scene without providing his details to the other driver. Individually these charges were bad enough.Taken together they amounted to very serious allegations indeed.

We quickly identified a potential technical defence to the drink driving charge that would have resulted in the charge being thrown out. The problem here was the “bigger picture”. The court was going to see CCTV of our client drinking and was going to hear evidence from bar staff about this. In this context, the dangerous driving charge was very serious indeed. We attended the locus and were quickly satisfied that our client was not to blame for the collision in question irrespective of whether he had been drinking or not. The complainer’s evidence simply did not stand up to scrutiny and the evidence of the collision that remained at the locus. The problem was that trials are sometimes not as straightforward as that. Our client would almost certainly have had to give evidence and every question would have been about drinking and getting behind the wheel of the car.

We considered that we could still win the case outright at trial. However our client wished to avoid a trial. Moreover, although he denied driving dangerously or leaving the scene, he did accept being marginally over the drink-drive limit. While the burden of proof lies with the Crown, our client expressed a wish to accept responsibility for that element he felt Guilty of.

We were able to persuade the Crown that the dangerous driving and leaving the scene charges would not hold up. Not Guilty pleas were accepted to these charges. Our client pleaded Guilty to drink driving. He received the minimum penalty of a 12 month disqualification (reduced to 9 if he participated in a drink driving rehabilitation scheme).

This case was defended by Steven Farmer at Elgin Sheriff Court on 20 April 2018.