Cough medicine to blame for technician being over the limit, claims lawyer

A Scottish Water technician is likely to lose his job after driving his van while almost twice over the legal alcohol limit, which Lerwick Sheriff Court heard could have been caused by cough medication.

Melvyn Henderson, 40, of Park Lane, Lerwick, pleaded guilty to having 158 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood when driving in Sound Brae on 10th June. The legal limit is 80.

The court heard today that Henderson had been stopped by police acting on intelligence. He failed a roadside test and was arrested and taken to the police station.

Defence solicitor Gregor Kelly said Henderson had been at a show in Clickimin the previous evening and had consumed four cans of cider. He was suffering from flu and had taken a number of doses of the “heavy medication” Covonia, which contains 15 per cent alcohol, during the night. Mr Kelly said Henderson was “blissfully unaware” of the alcohol content, and there is a strong likelihood the cider would have dissipated by the time he took to the wheel the next morning.

Henderson holds a “pivotal position” in Scottish Water, Mr Kelly said, and had responded to a call-out. His driving licence was essential but now he would have to resolve this offence with his employer.

Sheriff Philip Mann said Henderson should have known what he was ingesting and would be disqualified from driving in order to protect the public. The ban should have been 30 months but would be reduced to 27 months thanks to Henderson’s early guilty plea, and would be reduced by anothe six months to 21 months if he successfully completes the drink drivers rehabilitation course. Henderson was also fined £720.


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