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High-speed A9 drivers appear before sheriff at Wick

By Court Reporter

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Sheriff Andrew Berry
Sheriff Andrew Berry

A sheriff has described a driver’s speed of almost 100 mph as "absurd" and “wholly inappropriate”.

Offshore worker Stuart Clark was the latest high-speed motorist to fall foul of such an offence in Caithness in recent months.

Clark admitted travelling at 99 mph on the A9 at Ousdale, on June 10.

The accused was one of two high-speed drivers to appear at Wick Sheriff Court on Wednesday.

Clark (40) had previously tendered his plea by letter but was ordered to appear personally, in light of what Sheriff Andrew Berry described as a "ludicrous" speed in a 60 mph limit.

Fiscal David Barclay said that road and weather conditions were fine when Clark was clocked by police engaged in speed checks.

Solicitor Fiona MacDonald said that the accused did not appreciate that his speed had reached such a level, while on his way home at the wheel of his wife’s people carrier.

Miss MacDonald said that Clark was currently trying to address issues in his personal life and appealed to Sheriff Berry to step back from imposing disqualification.

Sheriff Berry said he had expressed concern on many occasions regarding drivers clocked at “wholly inappropriate” speeds which, apart from breaking the law, were recorded on roads that were, in any case, not fit for it.

The sheriff said that Clark, of Ivy Cottage, Barrock, could not have failed to have been aware of his speed that was marginally under 100 mph.

The accused was fined £325 and banned from driving for four weeks.

In a separate high-speed case, a Thurso labourer avoided a ban because of the serious consequences it would have for his job in the Scottish Borders.

Sean Gunn (24) admitted travelling at 95 mph in a 60 mph section of the A9 skirting Loch Rangag on April 23.

The accused told the court that disqualification would make it “very difficult” for him to continue with his job. He submitted a character reference from his employers.

Sheriff Berry said that Gunn, a first offender, of Castle Terrace, Thurso, had come “very close” to disqualification but he was obliged to consider each case separately. It was unlikely that public transport would enable the accused to continue his employment or that he could rely on lifts.

The sheriff added: “I am persuaded, only just, to differentiate with the previous case and impose six penalty points."

Gunn was also fined £325.

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