16th October 2018
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Dangerous driving charge is downgraded

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A woman was fined £500 and received nine penalty points on her licence at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday after being found guilty of careless driving.

Sheriff Philip Mann aquitted Szilvia Kerr of a more serious charge of dangerous driving after hearing evidence from the crown and defence.

Kerr, 34, of North Lodge, Hillside Park, Gulberwick had been out photographing the northern lights on 26th January when she collided head on with another car while she drove on the wrong side of the road.

The court heard how Kerr, who was eight-and-a-half months pregnant at the time was taken to the Gilbert Bain Hospital immediately after the crash where she gave birth to her son. Mother and son were later flown by air ambulance to hospital in Aberdeen.

The other driver was also taken to hospital with bruises. He had been very concerned about the condition of Kerr and came to see her in hospital.

After stopping her car to photograph the northern lights at the side of the A970 in Girlsta, Kerr, who is originally from Hungary, had performed a U-turn to head back to Gulberwick and had driven a short distance on the wrong side of the road. By the time she realised the oncoming car was in the same carriageway as herself, it had been too late for either driver to avoid the collision.

The court accepted the arguments of Tommy Allan, defending, that there had been no intent on the part of Kerr. Sheriff Philip Mann said that it was a very difficult case and judgement to make, but found her not guilty of the original charge of dangerous driving but guilty of careless driving.

“This is in my view in the upper range of careless driving,” said Sheriff Mann, who told her that any further motoring offence in the next three years would likely lead to the loss of her driving licence.

On the charge of dangerous driving, he said: “The law is that if there is a reasonable doubt about the matter, then I have to give you the benefit of the doubt.”