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Court / Man found not guilty of being in charge of car whilst over limit

A YOUNG driver who said he sat in his car after a night out to get warm was found not guilty of being in charge of a vehicle whilst over the limit after a trial at Lerwick Sheriff Court.

Aaron Regler faced trial on Thursday after denying being in charge of the car on Lerwick’s King Harald Street in the early hours of 29 December with 78 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

The legal limit is 22 microgrammes.

The 19-year-old said during questioning that he had no intention of driving home and was merely taking shelter in his car whilst he waited for a lift from someone else.

He said he had been driving friends about that night and was offered the chance of a ticket to see DJs perform at the Lerwick Legion.

The court heard that he took up that offer, left his car parked nearby and had about five or six drinks in the venue.

Regler told the court that he contacted a friend on Snapchat for a lift home to Cunningsburgh and was told that was fine – with the man due to come at around 3am.

But he then left the Legion to sit in his Volkswagen Golf, with another acquaintance, to warm up. It was agreed that the key was put into the ignition and turned to the second stage.

“It was pretty bad [weather],” he said. “It was really cold. I’m pretty sure it was rainy and windy.”

But the court was told that after five or ten minutes the police, who had seen car lights on, had arrived on scene.

They spoke to Regler and was told that he was waiting on a taxi, leading to officers asking to look through his call history.

But the court heard that Snapchat messages delete by default once read, meaning there was no proof of his chat with the driver due to pick him up.

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Regler was taken to the police station and cooperated fully.

Defence Liam McAllister highlighted that Regler, who is studying electrical engineering, was a “conscientious young man” – using the example of how he has a breathalyser at home that he would usually use the next day.

The witness also said he would have had another means of getting home if his lift did not materialise.

Instead, he spent a night in the cells.

The driver who was due to pick Regler up also gave evidence as a witness, saying that he was driving from north to south and was happy to pick up his friend in Lerwick.

He said that when he arrived in Lerwick Regler was nowhere to be seen and had assumed he had a received a lift from someone else.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank said Regler had given evidence in a “forthright manner” and did not attempt to evade any questions, while he said the other witness was credible.

He said that on the balance of probabilities Regler was not guilty of the charge.

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