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Top vaccine manufacturer executive avoids road ban at Inverness Sheriff Court after being caught speeding at 108mph in Ross-shire

By Court Reporter

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The Inverness Justice Centre. Picture: Gary Anthony.
The Inverness Justice Centre. Picture: Gary Anthony.

A TOP executive with a company involved in the manufacture of a Covid vaccine kept his driving licence despite speeding at almost twice the limit in Ross-shire while rushing to a government meeting.

David Lawrence (57) admitted doing 108mph on the A832 at Achanalt on August 2. The limit is 60mph. Lawrence, of Ormidale Terrace in Edinburgh, was the chief financial officer for French biotech company Valneva SE, which develops vaccines.

It has manufacturing sites in Livingston Scotland, Solna Sweden and Vienna Austria, with other offices in France, Canada and the United States.

Lawrence of Ormidale Terrace, Edinburgh was the chief financial officer for the company and announced his retirement a month after the offence. However he agreed to stay on until early 2021 until a successor was found.

Fiscal depute Rowena Carlton told Inverness Sheriff Court that weather conditions were good, the road was dry and traffic was light when police detected him driving at excessive speed.

Solicitor John Keenan told the court that Lawrence “played a significant role in negotiations between the government and his company regarding the manufacture of the vaccine.

“This offence in August coincided with an intense time for him. He had arranged a family break hill walking in Torridon. But he had to return to Edinburgh urgently to deal with the visit of a senior government official to his company’s site.

“He felt under pressure and was rushing more than he should have done. He has a clean driving licence and this offence is out of character.

“I am asking the court not to disqualify him although the speed is significant. There are three factors here - traffic was light, the weather was good, the road was dry.” Mr Keenan went on.

Sheriff Margaret Neilson decided against a driving ban, endorsed Lawrence’s licence with six penalty points and fined him £1040.

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