Ban and fine for man who refused to give breath sample

A 44-year-old man who refused to provide breath samples to a police officer who suspected he was drink driving has been disqualified from the road for two years.

Paul Manson, of Thistle Court, Virkie, was also fined £1,300 after admitting the charges at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie told the court that a member of the public had reported Manson to the police after he was seen getting into a car at the Hillhead car park on 5th May this year because he was “quite obviously drunk”.

The court heard how Manson had refused to give a preliminary sample to a police officer who had a reasonable expectation that he was under the influence of alcohol or another drug.

Manson was arrested and taken to the police station where he again failed to provide specimens of breath for analysis.

He “refused to provide any sample at all” Mr MacKenzie said.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said that his client had been “under the impression that if he had no intention of driving” the vehicle then he did not have to provide a sample.

Mr MacKenzie argued that the car should be forfeited but Mr Allan countered this argument saying that this would in effect “punish the rest of the family for something Manson has done”.

Mr Allan said that Manson “very rarely” drove the car which was “used almost exclusively by [Manson’s] children’s mother.”

He said that the family had an outstanding bank loan of £4,000 on the vehicle and that the family were “not in a position to buy another car immediately.”

However, Mr MacKenzie said that Shetland was a jurisdiction where people often refused to give samples to the police and that there was “an element of perverting the course of justice” in this.

He said that the bench needed to send out a clear message that there were “serious consequences” for doing this.

“This is maybe the most effective method of sending that message,” Mr MacKenzie said.

Sheriff Philip Mann said that forfeiting cars was something he was “prepared to do” but that he accepted in this case that it would have a “disproportionate effect” on Manson’s family.

Manson was banned for two years but could have that reduced by six months if he completes a drink driving rehabilitation course.


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