14th November 2018
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Sheriff criticises police for holding drink driver in cells for two days

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A sheriff has criticised Northern Constabulary for holding a man charged with drink driving in police custody for two days when he could have been released.

Sheriff Graeme Napier spoke out against the force’s “bureaucratic policing” after Hungarian Gabor Polgar, 23, of Scalloway’s New Street, was kept in the cells over the weekend.

Polgar was found to be driving in Lerwick at over twice the drink driving limit in the early hours of Saturday.

Appearing today from custody he admitted driving on Church Road with 76 microgrammes of alcohol in his breath – the legal limit is 35 microgrammes.

The court heard the fish factory worker had lost his wallet and was left unable to get a taxi home.

Sheriff Napier banned him from driving for two years and fined him £340.

He said: “Normally I would have considered the starting off point for sentence would have been a fine in excess of £1,000, but I am taking into account that you have spent two nights in custody for a case in which you could have been released.

“I have previously made my views known about the bureaucratic policing of Northern Constabulary in using pre-appearance custody as a punishment in respect of somebody who has not yet pled guilty.

“Nevertheless you have committed a serious offence and are a danger to the public if you are willing to get behind the wheel of a car with that amount of alcohol in your system.”

The court heard Polgar is planning to return to Hungary by Christmas. That means there is no point in him carrying out the drink driving rehabilitation course, although his driving ban will be reported to the Hungarian authorities.

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