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Jail for New Year crash driver

A SHETLAND scaffolder who abandoned his injured friend after smashing his brand new car into a lamppost while speeding the wrong way round a roundabout in Lerwick in the early hours of New Year’s Day has been jailed at the town’s sheriff court.

Appearing from custody, James Douglas, of 116 Sandveien, Lerwick, admitted dangerous driving and failing to report an accident, as well as breaching a curfew imposed on him for an earlier offence for which he was also jailed on Thursday.

The court heard how a taxi driver with passengers witnessed the 29 year old drive at speed the wrong way round the Tesco roundabout on South Road at 2am on new year’s morning.

While Douglas ran away, the taxi driver called an ambulance to help the passenger who was bleeding heavily from the left side of his head.

A fire crew from Lerwick was called to the scene and had to cut the roof off the car, which Douglas had only bought the previous day, to free the man who was found to have no serious injury.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie implied that Douglas was trying to escape detection for drink driving when he ran off, only to hand himself in the following day.

“I don’t think it takes much imagination as to why he would be wanting to flee the scene,” Mackenzie said.

However defence agent Christopher Maitland denied the charge that his client had shown no concern for his injured friend, saying they had spoken before he ran off.

Maitland also suggested that Douglas had slid on ice, but accepted he had been driving too fast.

He added that the only explanation for his client breaching his night time curfew was the time of year, it being a night of new year celebration.

The curfew had been imposed while Douglas awaited sentencing after pleading guilty to breaching the peace and struggling violently with police officers after being refused re-entry to a darts tournament at Lerwick’s Clickimin leisure complex on 14 July last year.

Maitland said Douglas had felt aggrieved at being refused entry and at the police using CS gas to control him when they came to arrest him at the Tesco car park.

He added that his client had a built up a significant criminal record until 2005 when he left Shetland for Aberdeen and had a child with his girlfriend.

However since their return to the isles they had separated since when he had started getting into trouble with the law again.

Sheriff Philip Mann said that he had little choice but to send him to prison, especially considering the seriousness of the driving offence.

Jailing him for a total of 22 weeks for both incidents, Mann said: “It’s a pity you have fallen off the rails again, but hopefully you will tumble to yourself this time.”