Tiree drink driving charge

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A man accused of drink driving on Tiree has had his case continued after his blood test was questioned.

Donald Macdonald, 41, of 10 Reef Terrace, Crossapol, Tiree, denied driving over four times the legal alcohol limit on the B8065 near Scarinish on August 25 last year. The charge says Macdonald read 213 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, when the legal limit is 50 milligrammes.

Constable Stephen Tanner, Tiree’s only police officer, told Oban Sheriff Court that, following an anonymous report, he took his partner for corroboration to a local hotel.

Nearby he observed a car ‘driving at excessive speed’. He said: ‘He was swerving. His speech was slurred. His eyes were glazed. I could smell alcohol. He was unsteady on his feet. I formed the opinion he was drunk. I asked if he could provide a sample. He said, “Aye”.’

But when Tiree’s only breathalyser broke on its second test, and with no ferry until the next day, PC Tanner asked a doctor to take a blood sample from Macdonald. He said it was stored in a refrigerator in Tiree’s police station, where he and his partner also live, and could not be delivered via cool bag to the Oban station until he was relieved or left the island.

Procurator fiscal Joanne Gilmour said: ‘It is not unusual for a specimen to stay on Tiree for a month. He brought it over to Oban police office on September 4 when he was going on holiday. Then it makes its way to the forensic lab. It was sealed.’

Defence agent Ruben Murdanaigum said there was ‘a break in the evidential link’, arguing the court did not know who took the blood sample to the lab, how or when, or who received it.

Sheriff Robert Dickson asked: ‘What is the break? It seems to me there is a clear connection.’ He said the same number appeared on PC Tanner’s document as the certificate of the lab analysis.

Mr Murdanaigum said: ‘We do not know if it was delivered in a way that might have affected the blood analysis.’ Sheriff Dickson granted his request for an adjournment until November 9 to consult a forensic expert.