Persistent drink driver banned for life after being spared jail

A persistent drink driver narrowly avoided a custodial sentence at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Thursday.

Instead Basil Gilfillan, 63, of Kurkigarth in Weisdale, was disqualified from driving for life when he stood in the dock before Sheriff Graeme Napier.

He was also ordered to carry out 80 hours of community service and placed on probation for 18 months.

Gilfillan had admitted taking to the road in November between Weisdale and the Bixter shop with 70 microgrammes of alcohol in his system – the legal limit is 35 microgrammes.

He also admitted failing to provide two specimens of breath in a separate incident at the Lerwick police station in January.

Sentence was deferred on that charge for Gilfillan to be of good behaviour and to raise £500 from the sale of his car by way of a fine.

Sheriff Napier warned him he could be facing jail after all if he fails to comply with any of the court orders.

The court heard Gilfillan had failed to face up to his responsibilities after it emerged he had told the social work department he was not guilty of drink driving.

However speaking from the dock Gilfillan admitted he had been responsible and accepted he had a drink problem, and that he was a danger if he ever got behind the wheel of a car.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said the admission came “as a major turning point” for Gilfillan.

Sheriff Napier said if he had not admitted his guilt he would have been going to jail.

He added that members of Gilfillan’s family clearly still cared for him, adding that would have been why his son had reported him for the drink driving offence.

“It’s not right that his son should have it on his head that he went to prison,” he added.

Gilfillan will appear in court again in March for a review of his probation.


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