HMA v ADAM DOCHERTY

At the High Court in Edinburgh on 25 February 2015, Lord Uist imposed a two-year probation order on Adam Docherty and banned him from driving for three years after the accused pled guilty to causing the death of George Izatt by careless driving.

On sentencing, Lord Uist made the following statement in court:

“Adam Docherty, you pleaded guilty to causing the death by careless driving of George Izatt, a 54-year-old man, at about 5.35am on 22 August 2010 by falling asleep at the wheel of the car you were driving, causing it to cross to the opposite side of the road and to collide with the car driven by Mr Izatt. At the time you were driving to an army cadet camp and fell asleep due to lack of proper rest in the preceding 24 hours. This tragic accident also caused severe injuries to the three passengers in Mr Izatt’s car, the passenger in your car and yourself. The reason why it has taken so long for this case to be dealt with is because you were not able until now to attend court due to your ill health.  

You are now 28 years old. You have no previous convictions. Before the accident you were in full time employment as a joiner, part-time employment as a bar supervisor in a night club and also helped out with the army cadets. It is probably not going too far to say that your life has been shattered by the physical and psychological injuries which you have had to endure since the accident. You have accepted full responsibility for this terrible event, you think about it every day and you have shown great remorse.

In my opinion you have already been severely punished by what you have had to suffer and justice does not require that you been sentenced to imprisonment, even if a sentence of imprisonment were a realistic option, which I doubt because of your continuing disability. Having considered what has been said on your behalf in mitigation and the contents of the criminal justice social work report, I have reached the view that the appropriate course for me to follow, provided you agree, is for me to impose a probation order.

You should now listen carefully to what I am about to say; two years’ probation, with a special condition to attend for psychological or psychiatric treatment as directed by a supervising officer. Although you are clearly incapable of driving, I am obliged to disqualify you from driving and I shall therefore do so for a period of three years.”