Driver banned after testing positive for cocaine was ‘in throes of addiction’

A hotel worker who gave a positive roadside drugs test while in the “throes of cocaine addiction” has been disqualified from driving for a year.

Lee Graham, 26, was also fined £400 after pleading guilty to drug driving at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Tuesday.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie told the court Graham, of Herrisdale Park, Tingwall, was already disqualified from driving having recently appeared before the court to face other drug-related offences

He had been ordered to pay thousands of pounds in fines and compensation last month after admitting to crashing his car while under the influence of drugs – at a time when he should have been self-isolating having tested positive for Covid-19.

Mr MacKenzie said the latest hearing related to an earlier offence on 4th July 2020, when Graham was stopped by the police at 10am due to the manner of his driving.

He provided a negative breath test but was also asked to take a drugs swipe which tested positive for cocaine.

He later recorded 239 micrograms of benzoylecgonine – a cocaine metabolite – per litre of blood. It was more than four times the legal limit of 50 micrograms.

Defence agent Gregor Kelly said Graham had been “on a slippery slope” which would lead to him coming “extremely close” to a lengthy custodial sentence in December.

“He was in the throes of cocaine addiction and hanging on to his job at Busta House Hotel by the very tips of his fingers,” he added.

Mr Kelly said his client recognised he was putting himself and others in “grave danger”.

He said Graham, to his credit, was now having fortnightly meetings with a drug counsellor, and was obliged to take regular tests as a condition of keeping his job.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank noted Graham had already been told to pay a significant financial penalty at the last hearing and ordered he pay a further £400 in relation to the latest offences.

He was also disqualified from driving for 12 months, reduced from 18 months to account for his timely guilty plea.


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