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Lorry driver cleared

The concrete mixer overturned near Sumburgh Airport last August. Photo: Ronnie Robertson

A TWENTY two year old lorry driver has been cleared of driving without due care or attention after a cement mixer toppled over on a road in the south mainland last summer.

Sheriff Philip Mann found the case against Brendan Leask, of Lower Sound, Lerwick, not proven following a trial at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday.

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It related to an incident on 9 August 2013 when a trailer containing the cement mixer overturned and broke free from the lorry’s tractor unit on a bend in the A970 road near the Sumburgh Hotel.

Leask, who works for Garriock Brothers, had been charged with driving the articulated lorry “without due care or attention and without reasonable consideration” for other people.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie contended that, while there was no suggestion of any “grossly excessive” speed, Leask had committed an “error of judgement” which resulted in him failing to negotiate the bend.

But giving evidence in his own defence, Leask said he had slowed down to a sensible speed as he approached the bend and felt there had been a “mechanical failure”.

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He heard “a bang or a click” before glancing in the passenger mirror to see something had gone wrong with the trailer. “I believe it was no fault of my own,” said Leask.

Defence witness John Gifford, who works with him at Garriock Brothers, said that following the incident one of the airbags which assists with the trailer’s suspension was found to have burst.

Gifford said it was not clear whether that damage was caused before or after the accident when it was being taken off the road.

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MacKenzie said there were “very simple things” the company could have done to establish the cause, but no evidence had been presented to demonstrate a mechanical fault.

Sheriff Mann accepted defence agent Liam McAllister’s assertion that there was “reasonable doubt” about what had caused the accident.

While there was no clear evidence of a mechanical fault, Sheriff Mann said there was also nothing to prove that Leask had been driving too fast and it was “not for the accused to prove anything”.

  • MEANWHILE a 41 year old woman has been told she could lose her dog after it went dangerously out of control and tried to bite two young children.

Violet Robertson, of Norgaet, Lerwick, pleaded guilty to failing to comply with a dog control order following an incident involving her Staffordshire bull terrier Sasha at Staney Hill on 15 January. 

The dog attacked a couple and their two children, then aged eight years, and repeatedly jumped at them and attempted to bite them.

Sheriff Mann deferred sentence until 24 July for background reports. Robertson was told that she faces losing the dog, and it is also possible the animal will be put down.

  • A WOMAN who pursued another woman and repeatedly struck her on the head and body to her injury has been fined £325. 

Tracey Anderson, aged 25, of Leslie Road, Lerwick, admitted the assault charge relating to an incident in the town’s Commercial Street on 8 January.

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