19th November 2018
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Lengthy driving ban for repeat offender

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A disqualified driver with a string of motoring convictions has been banned from the road for five years and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

James Fullerton, 60, of Atlaness, Hamnavoe, was also fined £400 after he admitted driving while disqualified for the second time.

Fullerton previously admitted riding his newly acquired motorbike in Scalloway without a licence and without insurance.

He was stopped by police for a routine check. But officers soon found Fullerton had no legal right to be on the road.

The court previously heard Fullerton has convictions for drink-driving, driving while disqualified, driving without insurance, careless driving and failing to stop for police.

Representing Fullerton, defence agent Tommy Allan said Fullerton had been disqualified until October 2018 and had “no good reason” to have been driving while disqualified.

He said taking the bike on the road meant Fullerton was not covered by insurance, either.

Mr Allan said Fullerton had been “window shopping” online for a motorbike which he could use once he got his licence back. In the end he found one on a local classified site and bought the machine.

Mr Allan said there was no ulterior motive, and insisted Fullerton had only planned to use the bike once he could legally drive again.

“He never thought he would be back in court, particularly facing charges like this. There’s no reason for him to be driving that now and he can’t think why he would have got back on the bike.”

The defence agent said Fullerton had suffered medical problems and had recently been given a new liver – a procedure which seemed to have gone well. But his partner had since been diagnosed with a serious condition, and Fullerton hoped to remain at liberty to assist his partner in the course of her treatment.

“You would expect one conviction of driving while disqualified to get you in trouble, two would mean first option for disposal could be a custodial sentence,” he told Honorary Sheriff Malcolm Bell.

But he insisted other options were available, adding Fullerton would be prepared to comply with a restriction of liberty order.

Mr Allan said the motorbike was worth around £4,000, adding it could be forfeited if the court wished to mark the seriousness of the offence.

He added that alcohol was not involved in the offending as Fullerton is not able to drink given his medical condition.

Honorary Sheriff Bell told Fullerton: “These are two really serious offences. I’ve listened to what your agent has said and what the fiscal has said. This is very much a case where a period of custody is absolutely correct and certainly worth considering, which I have done.”

But Honorary Sheriff Bell said he had also considered alternatives, and added he did not think a restriction of liberty order would be appropriate.

In handing the community payback order, he ordered Fullerton to attend supervision. But he stopped short of seizing the motorcycle.