Diazepam and prescription medication results in dangerous driving

A MAN has been sent to prison for 20 months after admitting driving dangerously from Dunrossness to Lerwick while unfit through drink or drugs.

Mark Scholes, of Grampian Prison, admitted driving dangerously on the A970 and various roads in Lerwick on 31 October while his ability to drive was impaired.

The 42-year-old also pleaded guilty to driving while unfit through drink or drugs, and possessing a folding pocket knife in public on Lerwick’s Commercial Street on the same day.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said concerns were first raised when another driver noticed Scholes driving erratically close behind their vehicle in Dunrossess at around 11am.

They said they saw him repeatedly encroach into the opposing carriageway, while they also spotted Scholes slumping into the middle of his car.

The witness turned off at Sandwick and phoned the police, and two officers encountered Scholes on Scalloway Road in Lerwick – some 20 miles from when he was first spotted.

Mackenzie said the police followed him and saw his vehicle swerving back and forth across the road.

Scholes stopped when police turned on blue lights and sirens, and officers noticed brown residue around his mouth. He was also unsteady on his feet.

The man provided a zero reading when given an alcohol breath test, but he was detained and searched more fully.

Officers found a folding pocket knife with a blade of eight centimetres on Scholes when they stopped him.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said his client had a history of drug abuse and was on methadone at the time.

The solicitor said Scholes – who appeared from custody – had taken a lot of diazepam the night prior before taking prescription medication the next day, thinking he would be okay.

In relation to the knife charge, Allan said Scholes had attended his ex-wife’s house and picked up an old jacket of his which had a knife used for work inside.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank told the court that Scholes’ list of previous convictions was “extensive” – and included a knife charge.

In addition to the prison sentence, which was backdated to when Scholes first entered custody on 1 November, the 42-year-old was disqualified from driving for four years and 10 months.

Sheriff Cruickshank also granted a crown request for forfeiture of the knife.