Driving ban for retired army officer

Haddington Sheriff Court

Haddington Sheriff Court

A retired army brigadier consoled himself with two large whiskies after visiting his sick wife in hospital.

He was later caught driving without headlights, as he returned to his home in North Berwick, and charged with drink driving.

Appearing at Haddington Sheriff Court last Wednesday, Alexander Mackay (73), 27 MacNair Avenue, was fined £600 and banned from driving for 15 months.

He admitted driving with excess alcohol in Clifford Road, North Berwick on November 13.

He was found to have 74 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – more than twice the legal limit of 35 microgrammes.

Depute fiscal Alison Innes said it was about 9.30pm when police officers spotted the accused’s car being driven without headlights.

They flashed their own headlights and waved at him in a bid to attract his attention, but he failed to respond and drove on.

When he was eventually stopped and spoken to, the officers immediately smelled alcohol and he was breathalysed.

Mary Moultrie, representing the accused, said her client had served for 30 years with Royal Army Education Corps and had never been in trouble of any kind.

“He is extremely embarrassed. He has held his licence for 40 years with not so much as a parking ticket,” she added.

Explaining the background to the incident, she said Mackay and has wife had just returned from a trip to South Africa, following which Mrs Mackay had developed a deep vein thrombosis and was being treated in hospital.

Having travelled into Edinburgh by train to visit his wife, she said he then returned to East Lothian where he picked up his car at the station and stopped off at a friend’s to update them on her condition.

“Foolishly he consumed two large glasses of whisky and thereafter drove less than a mile to his home,” said Ms Moultrie.

“He admitted his guilt at the outset and this does seem to have been a very unfortunate incident.”

The court heard Mackay, now was retired on a pension of £35,000 a year, had been “extremely anxious” about his wife.

Despite the relatively high reading, Ms Moultrie asked the court to impose the minimum ban of 12 months, in view of his previous “unblemished character”.

Sheriff Peter Braid reduced the fine from £750, to take account of his early plea of guilty. He told Mackay he could reduce the period of disqualification by three months if he successfully completed a drink drivers’ rehabilitation course.


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