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Court / Man found guilty of dangerous driving

Lerwick Sheriff Court.
Lerwick Sheriff Court.

A CHEF who was found guilty of dangerous driving after falling asleep at the wheel and going off the road has been disqualified for a year and fined £800.

Richard Clark, 33, who now lives in Fife, had been working as an agency chef at Scalloway Hotel when the incident occurred on 13 July 2019 on the A970 road between Fladdabister and Easter Quarff.

Following a short trial at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Thursday he was convicted of driving a car when he was so tired that he fell asleep, resulting in his car leaving the road and colliding with a fence before coming to rest in a field.

Clark had been out for food with a friend on the evening of 12 July before dropping the man off at accommodation near Sumburgh Hotel and then driving back north towards Scalloway.

He told the court it had been a foggy night and that he had been driving at “30 or 40mph” which was “probably too fast for the fog” and had clipped the side of the road and ended up going through the fence.

Clark claimed during the trial that he had initially told police officers he had fallen asleep at the wheel because it would “sound better”.

The court also heard evidence via video link from Clark’s father, who had told police a few weeks after the accident that his son had told him he’d fallen asleep at the wheel.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said it was difficult to understand any reason for Clark to have been “dishonest” when speaking to the police.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said a lot of people did not realise the seriousness with which falling asleep at the wheel is treated within the legal system and suggested that “may have been what was in Mr Clark’s mind” when putting that forward as an excuse.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank said the account offered in court was in “stark contradiction” to what Clark had told officers, and it “beggars belief the explanation today is the truth”.

Clark, who works as an executive chef at an upmarket St. Andrew’s restaurant, was fined £800 and banned from the road. He will also have to sit an extended driving test before seeking to obtain a driving licence after his disqualification period is over.


Space2face Shetland

Space2face Shetland is an independent and confidential service which uses Restorative Justice and the arts to bring those harmed by crime or conflict and those responsible for the harm into communication. We enable everyone affected by a particular incident to play a part in repairing the harm and finding a positive way forward.

If you would like to reach out to us, please contact us via e-mail info@space2face.org or mobile 07564 832467.

If you would like to know more, visit our website www.space2face.org, or our Facebook page #space2faceshetland.

The project is also currently fundraising to secure office space in Shetland’s brand-new creativity and wellness centre, The Mission. If you’re interesting in getting involved, or making a donation, head over to www.space2face.org/how-you-can-help