‘Highest reading’ drink-driver banned for two years

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A drink-driver has been hit with a two-year ban after being caught almost six times over the legal limit.

Oban Sheriff Patrick Hughes said Katrina Ann Paterson’s reading was the highest he had seen in court and her defence solicitor Eddie Thornton said he was ‘astonished’ she could even get into the car she had drunk so much alcohol.

Paterson, 34, of 6 McKelvie Road, Oban, had previously pleaded guilty to  the drink-driving charge and was back in court last week for sentencing.

Her 24-month driving ban will be reduced to 18 months if she successfully completes a drink-driver rehabilitation course and she must carry out 60 hours of unpaid work within six months, ordered Sheriff Hughes.

An application for her car to be forfeited was refused after the court heard Paterson planned to sign it over to a friend who needed it to visit her sick mother.

Paterson was stopped by police in Soroba Road at 1.45am on September 12 after they watched her set off from the town centre, drive very slowly then speed up for no reason. There was no other traffic.

She appeared confused when officers spoke to her and her speech was slurred as she began to produce a number of documents from the car, the court was told.

Paterson told police she had drunk a couple of glasses of wine earlier and failed a roadside breath test which showed she had 120 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, exceeding the prescribed limit of 22 micrograms.

In defence, Mr Thornton said  the incident was ‘very much out of character’ for Paterson, who had made the ‘bad’ decision to drive after failing to get a taxi and turning down a friend’s offer of somewhere to stay that night.

‘There was no need for her to take the decision she did. The decision was brought upon by excessive consumption of alcohol. I’m astonished she could even get in the car,’ he said.

He added his client, who was of ‘excellent character’ before the incident, understood the ‘grave danger’ she could have posed to other road users, pedestrians and herself.

Paterson felt drinking was ‘a developing habit’, said Mr Thornton, who told the court she had since abstained from alcohol.

Sheriff Hughes said: ‘That was almost six times the limit, the highest reading I’ve seen in a court.’