Sheriff issues drug and driving warning after offender shows “little consideration” for other road users

Sheriff Andrew Berry has warned that police have technology to detect roadside drug drivers.

Drug driver Andrew Sutherland said by a sheriff he showed “little respect” for traffic regulations and the safety of other road users.

Sutherland admitted to driving with an excessive amount of a cannabis drug.

Police had the opportunity to speak to him about his driving at Olrig Street and Meadow Lane, Thurso, on July 13 of last year.

Fiscal David Barclay told Wick Sheriff Court on Tuesday that officers felt the accused was “under the influence of something”. A breathalyzer test came back negative but a drug test was positive.

Sutherland (31) was found to have 2.3 mcg of Delta-9 – tetrahydrocannabinol – in their system; the legal limit is 2 mcg.

Lawyer Sian Fish said Sutherland, of Gardeners Cottage, Scrabster House, had taken the drug the night before and believed it would be out of his system the next day.

Sheriff Andrew Berry saw a letter from the accused’s father who employs his son in the family engineering business and said the exclusion would affect his employment.

The sheriff said Sutherland was “no stranger to court” and referred to the accused’s complete file, which included traffic violations.

Sheriff Berry referred to Sutherland’s “little respect” for the law and continued, “You’re going to lose your job and it’s weird when you think you used cannabis the day before and thought you could drive the the following day.

“You also had total contempt for your employers, who you put under great pressure because they lost your skills because you are prohibited from driving.”

Generally speaking, the sheriff remarked that there was “no hiding place” for drug drivers. Scientific developments have given police the means to detect these offenders on the side of the road.

Sutherland was fined £ 375 and banned from driving for a year.

Sheriff Berry cautioned the accused against driving under interdict, which he said would be “highly likely” to result in jail time.

In a separate but similar offense, Sheriff Berry insisted on his warning message regarding the dangers and consequences of driving while under the influence of drugs.

The sheriff spoke up after Andrew Troup (28) admitted to driving with 3.5mcg of Delta-9 – tetrahydrocannabinol. The limit is 2 mcg.

The first offender was arrested by police in Northcote Street, Wick on July 14 of last year. They were under the impression that he had recently used “a certain type of drug” and tested positive.

Troup told them he had smoked the cannabis drug 24 hours earlier.

Lawyer Josey Donnachie said Troup, an electrician, was likely to lose a job project that would have taken him to Antarctica, due to the disqualification imposed on him.

She added that the accused, of Battery Road, Wick, was not a regular cannabis user but had tried the drug after “a stressful week” and “should have exercised better judgment”.

Sheriff Berry said the case again underscored the attitude of drug drivers who thought they would be in limit the next day regardless of the serious consequences when caught.

The sheriff continued that the consequences Troup faced were “self-inflicted” and added, “A lot of people in the community will have the darkest opinions about these offenders and their disrespect for others.”

Troup was fined £ 375 and banned from driving for a year.

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