Drink drivers given lengthy bans and community service

Two drink drivers narrowly avoided prison sentences when they appeared separately at Lerwick Sheriff Court today.

However John Wishart, 67, of Brettabister in North Nesting, and Marina Sinclair, 56, of Toabsgeo, Virkie were both given lengthy driving bans by Sheriff Graeme Napier.

They were both told they would face custody should there be a repeat of their offending.

Wishart was disqualified from getting behind the wheels for 10 years and told to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work within 12 months.

Meanwhile Sinclair will have to resit the extended test after her five year ban is up. She will also have to wear a tag for six months and carry out 160 hours of unpaid work.

Wishart previously admitted driving on the B9075 at Skellister in April while almost three times the drink driving limit.

He didn’t help his cause by failing to co-operate with police when they asked for a preliminary breath test.

The offence took place just four months after he got his licence back following a previous disqualification.

He had alarmed a shop keeper who noticed he was unsteady on his feet while selling him a bottle of whisky. He then left the shop and got into his car before driving off.

Wishart, a crofter, had not been sleeping well as he coped with struggles during the busy lambing season.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said Wishart had been voluntarily attending Shetland’s drug and alcohol service.

He added Wishart was a “healthy specimen” despite his drink problems, thanks to his outside work on the croft. He added Wishart had the support of his family.

Passing sentence, the sheriff told Wishart: “If you fail to carry out the work required of you it’s entirely possible you’ll end up in prison.

“If you ever come before me for breaching this disqualification, or at the end of that period a drink driving offence, you will be going to prison.”

Wishart was also told to forfeit his vehicle, which could be crushed if the storage and administration costs can’t be recovered from its sale.

The court also heard drink had “clouded” Sinclair’s judgement when she undertook a short four-mile journey on Christmas Eve to deliver presents.

She had admitted driving dangerously and at excessive speed for the prevailing conditions while over twice the legal limit.

She was also deprived of sleep when she collided with an oncoming car.

Sheriff Graeme Napier asked agent Chris Dowle if there was any reason why he should not have sent her to custody.

Mr Dowle said her decision to deliver parcels had been “impulsive”. She had not realised the roads were so icy until she had already started her journey.

He said she was “fully remorseful” for what she had done. She had apologised to the driver of the other vehicle, who she knows.

“The driver has been compensated for his loss, but she is willing to go further than that and make compensation available to him,” he said.

However sheriff Napier said he remembered conditions at the time being so bad police were advising motorists not to go out at all unless absolutely necessary.

“They were horrendous,” he said. He wondered whether he should make an example of her by sending her to jail.

He told her: “It’s bad enough your reading is more than twice the limit, but for that to be confounded by the fact you were driving dangerously makes it worse. If you fail to comply with the orders you will end up going to prison.”


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