A SUTHERLAND drink driver consumed alcohol on top of medication in order to cope with the pain from a hip condition, a court was told today.
Josephine O’Neill, Tower Street, Golspie, was breathalysed following a road traffic accident in the village’s Ross Street on November 19.
The accident happened around 3.30pm and officers called to the scene found 45-year-old O’Neill standing by a vehicle. She said she had been the driver.
Stewart MacIver, prosecuting, told Tain Sheriff Court today: “Police noticed a smell of alcohol and the normal procedure followed.”
O’Neill was found to be more than three times over the legal limit of alcohol. She had 76 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The limit is 22 in 100.
O’Neill admitted drink driving but denied another charge of careless driving. Her pleas were accepted by the Crown.
Defence agent William Young said his client had difficulties with mobility and was awaiting a hip replacement. She was taking a variety of medication.
The lawyer said: “She has been driving for more than 20 years without incident and is a genuine first offender.
“At the time of this incident she was having difficulty sleeping because of the pain she was in.
“On this particular day she had taken some alcohol in the morning. It was probably ill advised given the medication she was on but she was struggling to cope with the pain she was suffering.”
Mr Young added: “She had driven the relatively short distance from her home to a local store to purchase provisions. She did so thinking she was fit to drive. That was an error of judgement on her part and it is a matter she very much regrets.”
Sheriff Chris Dickson fined O’Neill £360 and banned her from driving for a year. He told her she would receive a three month discount on the disqualification if she completed a drink drive rehabilitation programme.