23rd July 2018
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Three-year ban and £1,600 fine for gardener who assaulted man and drove home drunk

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A landscape gardener launched an assault on another man after he made derogatory comments about his self-made business and his mother.

Andrew Dow, 31, of Vallafield in Tingwall, then drove his pick-up truck home while over two-and-a-half times the legal drink driving limit.

At Lerwick Sheriff Court today, Dow narrowly avoided losing his pick-up altogether after honorary fiscal Kathryn Gordon argued the vehicle should be forfeited because of his record.

Instead he was banned for three years and fined £1,600 by Honorary Sheriff Roger MacDonald.

The court heard Dow assaulted the man outside Baroc in Commercial Street after his victim described his business as “s***” and shouted comments about his mother.

He pushed him against a gate and punched him before chasing after him and grabbing hold of his clothing.

The fiscal said the victim did not require hospital treatment, but was left in a “distressed state”.

Shortly afterwards police received an anonymous call advising them Dow had been seen driving his pick-up through Lerwick.

Officers on patrol went to Dow’s address in time to see him getting out of his vehicle, stumbling as he did so. He admitted then he had been drink driving.

Defence agent Linda Knarston said Dow had “intended to find alternative transport” home after drinking but “lost the head” after the assault.

“He decided to go home and he drove. He would not have driven had he not just lost it because of those defamatory remarks about his mother,” said Miss Knarston.

She urged Honorary Sheriff MacDonald that Dow be allowed to keep his vehicle, adding it served an “essential” role in his business.

“It’s used for towing and tipping and carrying materials associated with landscape gardening. It would be economically crippling for him if forfeiture was to take place.”

She said Dow hoped to employ someone who would be able to carry out driving duties while Dow himself was disqualified.

Honorary Sheriff MacDonald told Dow: “Brawling in public is something that isn’t acceptable in society. It would appear there may have been some degree of provocation, however that does not excuse your behaviour.

“Drink driving poses a very serious threat to all road users. It can lead to severe injuries of yourself and other road users, or even death. It’s something this court takes an extremely dim view of.

“In this case I will not impose forfeiture of the vehicle, but I think you are very lucky that it has not been forfeited.”

He fined Dow £400 for the assault and £1,200 for the drink driving offence.

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