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Jail & 10-year ban for driving five times’ limit

A MAN who drove from his garage to petrol pumps in Bixter while over five times the legal limit has been jailed for nine months and banned from driving for a decade.

James Garson, of the West Side village’s Annex, claimed he only drove seven metres to the pumps when he took to the wheel on 4 July last year.

But procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie told Lerwick Sheriff Court on Tuesday that Garson’s claim was simply “nonsense”.

Garson had previously admitted to driving a van on the A971 in Bixter with 262 milligrams of alcohol in 100ml of blood. The limit is 50 milligrams.

Defence agent Liam McAllister said his client was “under no illusion” that he would lose his licence and possibly his liberty. 

The 27 year old was in line to potentially gain employment in the construction industry if he avoided a jail term.

Mackenzie said Garson was seen driving into Bixter “clearly drunk” during the afternoon – prompting worried onlookers to call the police.

A social worker who was visiting his house also witnessed him drive back home.

McAllister said his client was “frank” about his record of previous convictions and how they suggested he was a man who had failed to overcome a “substantial alcohol problem”.

His drinking meant that, despite being aged only 27, he had the “physical problems of a man much older”.

“He is playing a risky game with his own life,” McAllister added.

The defence agent, however, suggested there were “exceptionally unusual circumstances” surrounding the offence, referring to Garson’s suggestion he had only driven for seven metres. 

McAllister added that his client had made “significant efforts to reduce his alcohol consumption” since the offence and had been actively looking for work.

Sheriff Mann said he had a “careful” look at Garson’s previous convictions, which were “appalling”.

They included two instances of driving while disqualified and also driving with excess alcohol. 

The sheriff said it was significant that previous community payback orders for Garson had not worked.

He noted there would have been a “grave risk to the safety of the public” at the time of the offence.

“I can honestly say there is no alternative to a custodial sentence,” Sheriff Mann ruled.

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