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The Highlander

New member
Please have a read of this case and share your feelings, it was my son who was convicted of dangerous driving, this was purely a necessity/self defense situation which the court completely ignored.

Driving fell short of what is expected of a careful and competent driver -sheriff

A man has been banned from driving after being found guilty of dangerous driving.
Mr Macleod, 23, was also ordered to carry out 75 hours unpaid community work in addition to the one year's disqualification. He had denied the offence.
Wick Sheriff Court was told that James Martin and his wife Heather and daughter Chloe had driven to the former Caithness Glass factory at Wick Airport after learning on December 13, 2015 that Mr Macleod was there..
Mr Martin, 37, wanted to speak to Macleod about a family matter. After arriving, they saw Macleod drive round behind the factory building in his 4 x 4. When he appeared, Mr Martin said he ran to speak to him but Macleod drove onto the grass and knocked him down on his way through a gap between a fence and a hedge.
Mr Martin told the court that Macleod was coming towards him and went on "I tried to defend myself but my elbow hit the back window of his truck breaking it, I think and the side of the truck hit my ribs. The next I knew i was on the ground".
Mr Martin said he was somewhat shocked and had to go to hospital for a check-up as He was having difficulty with his breathing.
He was cross-examined by solicitor Michael Burnett who opened by saying: "This is just a lot of utter nonsense. You are a liar, Mr Martin."
Mr Martin denied he was lying and Sheriff Berry cautioned Mr Burnett about "his aggressive approach".
Mr Martin denied he had "lunged at the 4 x 4" and fell over because of his own actions.
Giving evidence, Macleod, of 1 Langwell Crescent, Wick, said that he had made the detour across the grass to try to get away as Mr Martin had blocked the exit with his car. He said that Mr Martin looked angry and he was concerned that he was going to be assaulted. Macleod added: "Martin came out from behind the trees and jumped at my truck and I heard the back window shatter or smash.
Re-examining, fiscal Fraser Matheson said: "I suggest that the collision was the result of your own poor driving. That is the truth."
Mr Macleod: "No."
Summing up, Mr Matheson asked the sheriff to accept that Macleod knew, or ought to have known and observed, that there were pedestrians nearby and to leave the road and drive on grass through a narrow gap was dangerous.
Solicitor Michael Burnett submitted a special defence of necessity arguing that Macleod had panicked and was desperate to leave the scene because he feared what Mr Martin might do if he got hold of him.
That was rejected by Sheriff Andrew Berry who saw CCTV evidence."
The sheriff told Macleod: "The fact of the matter is that you are, without a shadow, of doubt guilty of dangerous driving by driving at excessive speed off the road between a fence and a hedge and colliding with James Martin. Your driving fell far below that expected of a careful and competent. driver."
Sheriff Berry rejected the special defence of necessity which he held, had no basis as a legal concept and suggested that if Macleod had really been concerned, he could have stayed in his vehicle and dialled 999 for the police.
Said the sheriff: "It is not likely you would have come to any harm."
Sheriff Berry also rejected the evidence given by Macleod's two witnesses saying: "It is a matter of concern that people come into court, take an oath and are prepared to say, pretty much anything. Your two witnesses were even speculating about what they thought you were thinking . The defence of necessity is just nonsense in law and fact."
Macleod, of **********, Wick, will require to sit and pass an extended driving test before getting back on the road.
The sheriff who was advising Macleod about the requirements of his community service suddenly broke off to tell Mr Burnett: "Mr Macleod seems to be making matters worse by shaking his head. He is not the victim here, but guilty of dangerous driving."
The sheriff warned Macleod that failure to comply with any of the requirements of the community service order within a three-month period, would mean his return to court.


Michael Lyon

Road Traffic Solicitor (Scotland)
Thank you for your post.

Although not a drink driving matter, it would appear that the crux of this case was predicated on the credibility and reliability of witnesses and that the Sheriff has preferred the evidence of the Crown.

If there is to be any consideration of an appeal, your son should speak to his solicitor forthwith.

All the best,