‘Demon’ driver who caused ‘horrendous’ injuries is banned for almost four years

A dangerous driver who caused his passenger horrendous injuries after a high speed crash in atrocious weather has narrowly avoided jail.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank told Shyren Batziris, 20, only a “reckless idiot or a demon with a death wish” would have driven as he did on 10th January last year.

Batziris, of Houlland Lea, Sandwick already admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving when he appeared before Lerwick Sheriff Court in November.

The court heard then how the passenger was left with permanent scarring after Batziris’ Mini overturned on the A970 at Quarff and the complainer’s legs went through the window, scraping along the tarmac.

The complainer underwent 12 hours of surgery, which involved bone reconstruction, skin grafts and muscle tissue being transferred from his body to his legs.

Surgeons told him he was lucky his limbs could be saved.

During Wednesday’s sentencing hearings, Batziris’ defence agent David Nicolson made repeated reference to his client’s young age and immaturity.

Sheriff Cruickshank said had it not been for the sentencing guidance for young offenders he would have had “little hesitation” in jailing the man.

He noted how Batziris had driven at “grossly excessive speeds over a considerable distance” and had shown “no regard or appreciation for the extremely poor weather conditions”.

The “inevitable conclusion”, the sheriff said,” was that Batziris had lost control and crashed.

“The fact there was no fatality was a miracle,” he added.

“Your passenger sustained horrendous and debilitating injuries..

“Only a reckless idiot or a demon with a death wish would have driven as you did on that occasion.”

Sheriff Cruickshank ordered Batziris comply with an 18-month supervision order and to stay within his home from 8pm to 6am every say for six months.

He disqualified Batziris from driving for three years and nine months and ordered him to sit an extended competency test before getting back on the road.

Mr Nicolson said his client was a young man who was “very committed to Shetland” having left his family behind to live here.

The defence agent confirmed Batziris was employed although adding “that is a matter that is very much under review pending the outcome of this process”.

He noted that sentencing guidelines considered young people as being generally less able to exercise good judgement when taking decisions and understanding the consequences of their actions.

Mr Nicolson suggested the guidelines were “very apt” in this case.

“It’s my submission that given his age, his guilty plea, his lack of previous convictions and his genuine remorse it cannot be said that custody is the only appropriated sentence,” he added.

During the previous hearing the court heard how Batziris had collected his friend from the Whalsay ferry at Laxo with the intention of driving to his Sandwick home together.

During the drive, the passenger recalled the speedo showing 110mph and “did not feel safe at all”, the court had heard.

Shortly before crashing, Batziris asked his friend: “Do you feel like you’re going to die?”

The crash caused horrific injuries to both the passenger’s legs, his jeans were completely shredded and he could see his skin had been scraped back, exposing muscle and bone.

He was screaming in pain, the court heard.

Other drivers offered assistance before police, ambulance and fire crews arrived.

The complainer had to be cut free from the wreckage and both he and Batziris were taken to the Gilbert Bain Hospital.

The accused’s injuries were relatively minor, but the complainer had to be transferred to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for orthopaedic and plastic surgery.

The court heard in November he still suffered regular flashbacks and nightmares and had been unable to return to full-time work.


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