Former Altaire skipper banned from driving

The retired skipper of Shetland’s biggest fishing boat Altaire was banned from driving for 18 months and fined £1,120 at Lerwick Sheriff Court this week for an altercation with police after he went off the road in snow three weeks ago.

John Peter Duncan, 51, of Ollaberry, admitted resisting arrest and struggling with the police at the Windy Grind in Tingwall and refusing breath tests. He denied driving and attempting to drive under the influence of drink or drugs and his plea was accepted by the Crown on Wednesday.

The court heard the police had been informed that his car was off the main road to Lerwick at about teatime on Friday 6th February. They found Duncan still in the driver’s seat with the rear wheels spinning as he tried to get the vehicle out of the ditch.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said there was a strong smell of drink when officers opened the door and asked him to switch off the engine. He refused and one of the police leaned in and took the keys out.

“He was basically refusing everything police requested of him,” Mr MacKenzie said. He refused to get out and insisted he was taking the car home. Eventually he clambered out but refused to get into the police car. As a policeman went to place his hand on his shoulder to arrest him Duncan fell over in the snow.

He kept his hands clenched tightly underneath his chest to try to prevent his arrest. He was eventually put in a police car but refused a breath test and did the same again back at the police station.

Mr MacKenzie told the court: “He is a man who has a significant alcohol problem, maybe somewhat exacerbated by him not being able to accept he has such a problem.”

His solicitor Martin Morrow said his client had taken the view he should return home given the bad weather and had been in the process of turning the car when it went off the road. He had not complied with the breath tests because he did not believe he had done anything wrong.

Losing his licence would have a big impact on his mobility, Mr Morrow said, but he had not been driving since his court appearance earlier this month when he was given bail.

Sheriff Graeme Napier imposed an 18-month ban instead of 12 months because of the refusal to co-operate with alcohol and drug tests. He said: “Your behaviour was completely unreasonable, unacceptable and unlawful.”


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