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Determined cops snare danger driver

By SPP Reporter

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Cops praised for determined legwork
Cops praised for determined legwork

A FISCAL this week praised the work of two police officers who helped bring an Alness drink-driver to justice — despite the man’s claim that his partner was driving the car at the time.

Depute fiscal Roderick Urquhart was speaking at Tain Sheriff Court on Tuesday after James Connor (54) had been jailed for eight months for driving while more than four times over the limit.

It was his fourth conviction for an offence related to drinking and driving.

His partner Marie Hainey (49) was fined £400 for backing up his story that she had been driving at the time.

Connor and Hainey, both of Milnafua, were found guilty after trial of attempting to pervert the course of justice by giving false information to the police.

In addition, Connor was convicted of driving in Milnafua, Obsdale Road, High Street, Novar Road, River Drive, Teaninich Industrial Estate and other roads in Alness on May 11 this year with 143 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The limit is 35.

The case had been continued for background reports and they appeared for sentence on Tuesday.

Sheriff David Sutherland told Connor that, given the circumstances of the offence and his previous record, there was no alternative to a custodial sentence.?He sent him to prison for eight months and banned him from driving for seven years.

He will also have to resit the driving test before he gets his licence back.?Fining Hainey £400, the sheriff said her position was “understandable but not defendable”.?Fiscal Mr Urquhart asked the court to forfeit the car, but Sheriff Sutherland said that, having heard all the evidence during the trial, he was not prepared to do that.

Mr Urquhart said later that, following the trial, he had contacted the head of Northern Constabulary’s road policing section in Dingwall to congratulate the two officers involved in the case, Constable Kate Haynes and Constable Scott Lemmon.

“It was an example of excellent police work,” he said.?“When they stopped the car on May 11 Connor was no longer driving.

“Both he and Hainey, who was now driving and who was sober, insisted that she had been driving all along.?The two constables then spent the following day carrying out further investigations.

“Thanks to their work and the assistance of members of the public, one of whom gave evidence, and others in the Bank of Scotland and the Commercial Hotel who provided CCTV evidence, it was possible to prove that Connor had been driving the car some 12 minutes before it was stopped.?“When he was breath tested shortly after the car had been stopped, he was found to be more than four times over the limit.”

See this week's Ross-shire Journal for a full round-up of court

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