Teen driver’s personalised plates earn him a disqualification

A “cherished” present of a personalised number plate nearly cost a young driver his licence.

Leighton Sutherland, 19, had received the plates for his birthday – but failed to update his insurance accordingly, Lerwick Sheriff Court heard on Thursday.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said it was a “fairly technical” matter.

He said that although Sutherland, of East Voe, had insurance for the vehicle it was invalidated by the new plates.

Defence agent Gregor Kelly said the number plate was a “cherished” present which had subsequently caused a “great deal of angst”.

Mr Kelly said his client recognised it was his responsibility to ensure the insurance was valid.

However he urged the sheriff not to endorse his licence with penalty points – as it would mean the loss of his licence.

As a new driver, the court heard that six penalty points – the minimum that can be endorsed for driving without insurance – would automatically result in his licence reverting to provisional status.

Mr Kelly said the current demand for driving tests in Shetland meant his client may not be able to regain a full licence until Christmas.

He said this would affect his job as an apprentice HGV mechanic. Instead, he suggested his client could be given a short disqualification with no penalty points.

Mr Kelly said this would offer more “stability” for his employer.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank agreed penalty points, in this instance, would have a fairly serious impact.

Instead he fined Sutherland £300 plus victim surcharge and disqualified him from driving for 21 days.


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