Driver banned for three years

The Oban Times - - News -

A MA­CHINE op­er­a­tor has been banned from hold­ing or ob­tain­ing a driver’s li­cence for three years af­ter ad­mit­ting drink driv­ing.

James Hawkes, now liv­ing in Cum­bria, ap­peared at Fort Wil­liam Sher­iff Court last week ( Wednesday April 26) on charges of drink driv­ing and fail­ing to iden­tify him­self as the driver of the ve­hi­cle in­volved, which he de­nied and which was ac­cepted.

Procu­ra­tor fis­cal Martina East­wood de­scribed to the court how, at 9.45pm on July 28, 2016, po­lice of­fi­cers on rou­tine pa­trol no­ticed de­bris in­clud­ing tools and food strewn on a sec­tion of the A861 be­tween Stron­tian and the Cor­ran Ferry.

About 500 me­tres along the road, they saw a sil­ver- grey Vaux­hall Zafira next to a van in a layby which had shat­tered win­dows, a tire miss­ing and its airbags de­ployed, and Hawkes, 28, was talk­ing to two men from the van.

As the po­lice ap­proached and talked to the two men, Hawkes walked off into the woods.

When they traced him there, po­lice dis­cov­ered his speech was slurred and he was un­steady on his feet, and they per­formed a road­side breath test on him be­fore tak­ing him back to Fort Wil­liam po­lice sta­tion.

Dur­ing the jour­ney to the sta­tion, Hawkes told them he had had a drink af­ter work and was driv­ing south to see his mother in Cum­bria as he was de­pressed fol­low­ing the re­cent death of his grand­fa­ther.

At the po­lice sta­tion he was given an­other blood test at 11.30pm which showed he had 157mg of al­co­hol in his blood, more than three times the limit, which at that point was 50mg.

So­lic­i­tor Stephen Kennedy told the court that Hawkes had been work­ing at Ard­ton­ish Es­tate near Lochaline and had been given some cider from the es­tate man­ager in the late af­ter­noon and he had then had a can of lager be­fore driv­ing to­wards the Cor­ran Ferry.

Mr Kennedy said that Hawkes claims he had drunk more al­co­hol af­ter he had stopped driv­ing, and had been ad­vised to head into the woods by the two men and had ‘ fool­ishly’ done so.

He told the court that when he saw the po­lice, Hawkes came back out to talk to them.

The court heard that Hawkes had a pre­vi­ous drink driv­ing con­vic­tion and Sher­iff Wil­liam Tay­lor said: ‘ The hands of the court are tied in sit­u­a­tions like the one we find our­selves in here.’

As well as the three-year driv­ing ban, Hawkes was or­dered to pay a £1,000 fine.

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