An NHS boss has been banned from the roads after an evening drinking with his wife left him more than three times the legal limit the following morning.
NHS Grampian’s supply chain manager, Andrew McArdle, was caught by police only two days before Christmas as he was driving to work from his home in Stonehaven.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard yesterday that “officers received information” that the 57-year-old may have been under the influence of alcohol and pulled him over on the A90 Aberdeen to Dundee road just after 8am.
When he was breath tested – 18 days after the introduction of the new reduced limit – McArdle claimed he did not realise he would not be safe to drive, despite admitting drinking with his wife until 1am.
Yesterday, Sheriff Kenneth Stewart said his naivety was no excuse, given the publicity that had accompanied the introduction of the new lower limit.
McArdle was fined £500 and disqualified from driving for two years after the father-of-one admitted getting behind the wheel of his white Vauxhall Insignia while he had 61 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.
The legal limit was reduced from 35mcg to 22mcg on December 5 last year.
The court heard McArdle, of 19 Glencry Road, Stonehaven, had been drinking wine with his wife during dinner on December 22.
Representing the first time offender, solicitor Ian Woodward-Nutt said his client then decided to continue drinking through the evening, before they went to bed around 1am.
“His position is that it simply had not occurred to him that he was over the limit. Not to the degree that he was,” he said.
The solicitor said his client “clearly took the matter very seriously” and was hopeful that it would not affect his employment as a logistics manager.
The court heard McArdle was also an active member of his community and volunteered for the Samaritans.
Sentencing McArdle Sheriff Stewart said: “Given the huge amounts of publicity in the press about the new limit and the morning after I find the fact that he was merely naive difficult to believe.”
He said given that he was three times the limit he was going to ban him from the roads for two years, but if he completed the drink drive rehabilitation course he could have his disqualification reduced by six months.
Last night a spokesman for NHS Grampian said McArdle would remain in his post.