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Young North Kessock motorcyclist banned for more than two years after high speed Inverness chase

By Gregor White

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Louie Berry (inset) was sentenced at Inverness Sheriff Court.
Louie Berry (inset) was sentenced at Inverness Sheriff Court.

A motor cyclist who drove too fast made a sheriff furious after he heard of the high speed chase by police for several miles through Inverness.

Louie Berry, who had only been banned from the road for another sequence of dangerous driving the previous month, removed his number plate to try and avoid detection on May 8 this year.

But all it did was attract the attention of a nearby police car which began to follow him.

And his comments to a social worker compiling a background report saying "handling speed is not an issue for me" prompted Sheriff Ian Cruickshank to describe the 21 year old as "arrogant."

He told him: "Speed may not be an issue for you, but it was for the police pursuing you and the members of the public in the vicinity."

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The sheriff considered forfeiting the motor cycle, which was valued at £6000, but decided against it. He also spent several hours mulling over a jail sentence, with Berry and his mother waiting in Inverness Sheriff Court for the outcome.

Instead, as an alternative to custody, Sheriff Cruickshank imposed the maximum 300 hours of unpaid community work and placed Berry, of Muiren, North Kessock, under a year's social work supervision.

He also disqualified him from driving for 28 months and ordered him to resit the extended test of competence to drive before he can get behind a wheel again.

Berry had previously admitted driving at excessive speed, overtaking other vehicles when it was unsafe to do so and causing other road users to take evasive action to prevent a collision.

The pursuit began on Culloden Road at 1.06pm, continued on to Sir Walter Scott Drive, on to the A9 at Inshes roundabout, down the A9 into Stadium Road and the harbour area.

It ended about 1.14pm at Henderson Drive, with Berry appearing before Sheriff Gary Aitken the following morning.

Fiscal depute Adele Gray told the court that while Berry was stopped at a junction, the police car nudged the bike over onto its side to prevent him from fleeing.

At the first hearing when Berry appeared from custody, Sheriff Aitken decided to teach Berry a lesson that court orders had to be observed and remanded him in custody to Porterfield Prison for a couple of days.

At that hearing, Sheriff Aitken said: "Obviously he didn't understand the court telling him not to drive and he did within a few days.

“He is exceedingly lucky to be here at all and not lying on a slab at Raigmore Hospital. It is a miracle.

"I don't think I have ever dealt with anyone who got another dangerous driving charge within a month of being convicted of their first.

"Motor vehicles are not toys and if the court tells you not to drive, you are not allowed."

Sheriff Cruickshank emphasised that message, saying: "Driving is not a right, it is a privilege. That is why it is a licensed activity. The ban may give you considerable time to consider how to drive in the future."

Mr Gowans told the court that the spell in custody had been an unpleasant experience for his client and he had no wish to repeat it.

"He offers his unreserved apologies to the court and gives an assurance nothing like this will happen again,” he said. “It is time for him to grow up.

"His conduct was appalling and could be dealt with by a custodial sentence. He is deeply ashamed, lost his job, will lose his licence for a considerable time and realises he could lose his liberty.

"What he did was considerably stupid. He panicked and he is lucky he did not hurt himself or someone else."

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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