Road ban for NHS24 doctor caught drink driving while on call

An on call doctor who drove an emergency vehicle while over the limit was banned from the road for 12 months and fined £500 at Lerwick Sheriff Court.

David Irons, 46, from Bath, Avon, admitted driving in the town with 51 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, exceeding the legal limit of 35 microgrammes.

The court heard on Monday that Irons, an NHS24 doctor, was caught shortly after 2am on Sunday 2nd August after police became concerned by his driving. He was on call at the time and was behind the wheel of a specially-equipped NHS24 car.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said Irons had seemed surprised that the police would stop such a vehicle. He failed the roadside test and was arrested before being taken to the police station.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said Irons had been a GP for most of his working life. He said the doctor, who has one previous conviction for speeding, had recently been carrying out voluntary work overseas.

Much of that work had been carried out in an Islamic country, meaning Irons had been “virtually teetotal” during his time there.

Irons’ contract has now been terminated and the doctor himself has written to the General Medical Council about the incident.

However Mr Allan said the doctor was moving on anyway and intended to fly overseas to carry out more voluntary work in September. “He has at no time instructed me to tender anything other than a plea of guilty to this charge,” he said.

Sheriff Graeme Napier said he would treat Irons the same as he would any other drink driver facing a conviction. “Clearly you understand the seriousness of this offence given your profession and your experience,” he said.

Disqualifying him for a year, he offered Irons the chance to reduce his ban by three months if he completes a drink drivers rehabilitation course.

Meanwhile, a recovering heroin addict who carried out a string of offences to fund his habit was sentenced to over a year in prison.

Adam Nelson, 20, of Hoofields, Lerwick, was jailed for 376 days after admitting fraudulently buying goods in various Lerwick stores with a bank card stolen from Annsbrae House last September.

He also stole a digital camera from a house in St Magnus Street on 10th July and an iPod docking station from Bolts Electrical Store on 18th July, as well as two charity collection boxes.

Defence agent Mr Allan said Nelson had admitted having an addiction to heroin when interviewed by police after being arrested.

“I want off heroin. It’s ruined my life. If I carry on I’ll be dead by 21,” he told police. Mr Allan said Nelson was now clean, having finished a detox at the weekend. However he asked that Nelson be able to complete a drug testing  programme during his prison sentence.

“It’s his hope he can remain free of heroin. He’s very much aware he will be receiving a custodial sentence today,” said Mr Allan.

Sheriff  Napier said he hoped Nelson would be able to remain free of drugs once he regains his liberty.


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