Langlees driver was five times the legal limit when he hit a parked car

A drunk-driver who forced another motorist onto the pavement, pranged kerbs and collided with a parked car before being restrained by angry locals was spared jail.

By Court reporter
Thursday, 7th April 2022, 4:45 pm

James Stewart, 50, described by his own lawyer as a man never known to commit an offence sober, was nearly five times the legal limit at the time of the incident at 2.30 in the afternoon, Falkirk Sheriff Court was told.

It began when a man driving on Carron Road, Falkirk saw Stewart driving a car "erratically" towards him.

Stewart's car swerved towards him, forcing the other driver to mount the pavement in a bid to get out of his way.

Stewart had previously had sentence deferred for reports when he appeared at Falkirk Sheriff Court in February

The accused’s vehicle struck the other car a glancing blow on the rear offside, before carrying on.

Prosecutor Amy Sneddon said the other driver got out, and saw Stewart "swerving all over the road and bumping into kerbs before being lost to sight".

Two residents of a house round the corner on Carronside Street then heard "a loud bang and screeching" and went outside to see Stewart "driving in an out-of-control manner and crash into a parked car".

Miss Sneddon said: "Other witnesses alerted by the noise outside attended and observed the accused in the driver's seat of his vehicle.

"They noticed his speech appeared to be slurred."

Stewart exited his vehicle and began to shout at the gathering group and swore at them.

The court heard this "could have been directed at all or any of them".

Stewart then tried to walk away, but the owner of the parked car which Stewart had driven into took hold of him while police were called.

Stewart "made threats of violence" while waiting for officers to arrive.

When they did, they found him still being held, and "shouting and not making much sense".

Stewart then tried to kick one of the police officers in the face, but did not make contact.

He was arrested and taken to Falkirk Police Station where he provided a breath sample that proved on analysis to contain 105 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres, nearly five times the legal limit, which is 22.

Stewart, of Langlees, pleaded guilty to drink-driving, dangerous driving, police assault and statutory breach of the peace. The incident occurred on January 30 this year.

He first appeared in court in February, and sentence was deferred until today for background reports.

The court heard he had turned up drunk for an interview with social workers preparing the reports.

Solicitor-advocate Stephen Biggam, defending, said Stewart had a chronic alcohol problem and "had done his best to force himself into prison".

He added: "I've never known him commit an offence sober."

He said Stewart had been attempting to drive away from a family dispute when the incident occurred.

Sheriff Derek Livingston said Stewart's actions had been "highly dangerous".

He imposed a six-month electronic tag order, during which Stewart will be subject to a 7pm to 7am home curfew, and banned him from driving for two years.

He also placed him under social work supervision for two years.

He told him: "You're avoiding custody by the skin of your teeth."