A young driver has been banned after admitting drug-driving and causing an accident last year involving a motorcyclist and his passenger.
Nathan Christie, 20, appeared in Elgin Sheriff Court to stand trial for dangerous driving and drug driving, but a last-minute plea bargain saw the charges being dropped for the former.
Christie admitted taking cannabis before getting behind the wheel of his blue Seat Ibiza on March 25 last year.
Over the cannabis limit during motorbike crash
A blood test showed he was slightly over the limit with 2.5mg being recorded.
Fiscal depute Victoria Silver told the court Christie had been involved in an accident at around 2pm on March 25 on the B9015 near Crofts Farm, Rothes, and police attended.
She said: “The motorcyclist advised the officers that they could smell cannabis coming from [Christie’s] vehicle and the officers also noticed this on approaching the car.”
Christie had been charged with dangerous driving and knocking Artur Malecki from his motorbike, but his not-guilty plea for this was accepted.
Christie’s defence agent Lyndsey Barber told the court her client was working as a HGV mechanic at an army base and was still paying the finance on his car and this was his first offence, adding: “He is aware there will be a disqualification.”
Sheriff David Hardie on sentencing Christie said he would be giving a limited discount given he had gone to a trial date.
Young first offender
He said: “I will take into account your young age and the fact that you have no previous convictions.
“This was extreme carelessness – having an accident with a motorcycle, whether or not you had drugs in your system. But you did have drugs or alcohol in your system, and you got behind the wheel of a car.”
Speaking outside court, motorbiker Artur Malecki, 48, and his passenger Ryan Davidson, 39, said they thought Christie had suffered enough and were “okay” with the outcome.
“He’s just a young lad,” Mr Malecki went on. “I think all of this must have taught him an important lesson.”
Mr Malecki said he had only bought his BMW RT1200 a few weeks before the accident and it was now written off.
He said: “I didn’t stand a chance, he just pulled out in front of me – I tried to swerve to avoid him, but there was no time.
“We were very lucky, we both walked away with only bruises, but my wife really was not happy.
“She was so worried after that. I had only just got the bike and had to cancel a biking holiday I was planning to the Pyrenees.
“I have not been on a bike since.
“The bike cost £11,000 and I’m still paying interest on the loan I took out for it. I haven’t received any insurance payout yet, but they have told me they won’t be paying in full – so I have lost out around £1,500.”
Christie, of Campbell Crescent in Kingussie, was banned from driving for 12 months and fined £380.
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