Eight-year road ban for duke: Peer is spared jail after fifth drink-drive offence
James Cusick is political correspondent of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. As an experienced member of the lobby, he has previously worked at The Sunday Times and the BBC. His career as a journalist has been split between print and television, including senior positions as producer with Sir David Frost and at BBC Newsnight. He is also an award-winning golf and travel writer, working for over a decade as the UK contributing editor for one of the USA’s leading golf magazines. He broadcasts regularly for the BBC and CNN. He lives in London.
Friday 18 June 1993
The duke, who is also the Hereditary Keeper of the Palace of Holyrood in Edinburgh, was three times over the legal drink-driving alcohol limit when he evaded police in a car chase, at speeds of up to 95 mph, on 20 December last year.
Police said lives had been in danger as the 54-year-old duke sped through villages during the chase around Haddington. He accelerated through police road blocks, eventually crashing into a road sign at high speed.
At Haddington Sheriff Court in East Lothian yesterday in addition to the driving ban the duke was sentenced to 12 month's probation and 200 hours community service.
With custodial sentences almost uniformly imposed in such extreme circumstances, the court's decision was criticised for exposing 'one law for the aristocracy and another for everyone else'.
Adrian Davies, director of the Glasgow Council on Alcohol, a voluntary agency which campaigns against alcohol misuse and offers counselling, said the sentence was 'just not right'.
Mr Davies said there was no excuse for the duke's behaviour and it should have been dealt with as a serious offence. 'If that involves a custodial sentence, so be it.'
In court, Raymond Fraser, for the duke, said: 'It is perhaps difficult for people who work hard and play hard not to do things to excess.'
He told Sheriff John Dean that on the same evening of the incident the duke had been taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary with a suspected heart attack. As a result, he had no recall of what happened later. On being apprehended he had knocked off a policeman's helmet and spectacles.
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 Watch: Man takes selfie every mile of 2,600 mile hike, creates amazing timelapse video
- 4 The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Germanwings plane crash: Andreas Lubitz 'had eyesight problems' and woke from nightmares 'screaming we’re going down'
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...