Payback order for New Year’s drink driver

Dundee Sheriff Court
Dundee Sheriff Court

A New Year’s Day danger driver caught after tufts of his hair were found lodged in the smashed windscreen of a car he crashed today (Tuesday) avoided jail because of prosecution delays.

Gary Brown took his friend’s car without consent hours after a heavy Hogmanay night out ended.

Brown careered through residential streets in Arbroath before completely losing control and crashing - destabilising a lamp post and coming to rest in a garden wall.

The unlicenced driver then ran off leaving the car abandoned and was only traced when forensic examiners found tufts of hair in the cracked windscreen and determined they had been left when the driver, who was not wearing a seatbelt, had smashed his head into the glass.

That led police officers to his door some six months later after the sample was finally analysed.

The case then took a further 16 months to reach court.

A sheriff said: “For that reason alone you will not go to prison.”

Fiscal depute Nicola Gillespie told Dundee Sheriff Court: “The accused and the owner of the car returned to the complainer’s home around 1am on New Year’s Day.

“The complainer was heavily intoxicated and doesn’t remember much else.

“Around 4am that morning police received an emergency call about a car being driven erratically.

“The car was seen to mount a pavement and the driver had little or no control.

“The car turned left into Tarry Road then collided with a boundary wall.

“The accused spoke briefly to a witness then made off.

“Police attended and a forensic examination took place finding tufts of hair in the cracked windscreen, which appeared to have been headbutted by the driver upon impact, and under the dashboard.

“An analysis of that hair matched it to the accused who was later traced.

“He denied having driven the car at the time of the incident.”

Brown, 26, of North Grimsby, Arbroath, pleaded guilty on indictment to charges of taking a car without consent, dangerous driving, failing to stop at the scene of an accident, driving without a licence and driving without insurance.

The incident happened on January 1, 2015, in Arbroath.

Defence solicitor Grant Bruce said: “He has paid towards the damage to the car and would be happy to pay towards the damage to the wall.”

Sheriff Alastair Brown imposed a community payback order with 280 hours unpaid work, six months supervision and £200 compensation to the homeowner whose wall was damaged.

He said: “You have an atrocious criminal record and the obvious and normal sentence for taking somebody’s car without permission and driving it dangerously is one of several years imprisonment.

“The only thing that can be said for you is this happened two years ago. Things have moved on for you.

“There was a delay in you appearing in court on petition and a very substantial delay in getting the case in to court.

“For that reason only I will deal with this by a community payback order.”