A government agency press officer was fined and banned from the road yesterday after crashing his car into the back of a police car while under the influence of alcohol.
Fergus MacNeill, described as a civil servant, was on his way to work for Scottish Natural Heritage when the collision happened on Thursday morning.
When the 52-year-old was breathalysed after the 8.40am incident on December 29, he was found to be over five times the legal drink driving limit.
His lawyer told the court his client was suffering from depression and had turned to alcohol during an acrimonious divorce.
MacNeill, of Lochardil Place, Inverness, appeared from custody at Inverness Sheriff Court yesterday and admitted driving with excess alcohol in Castle Street.
Fiscal depute Allison Wylie said: “Due to the level of alcohol, I move for forfeiture of his vehicle, a Saab 93 worth around £2,500.”
But Sheriff David Sutherland denied her request after hearing from defence lawyer Rory Gowans.
He told the court: “My client works as a civil servant and has had an extremely turbulent year.
“He and his wife split up and it has turned out to be an acrimonious divorce.
“He has not seen his two children and he has turned to alcohol to cope. He has also been diagnosed with depression.
“He had a heavy late night and tried to take his car to work and did not get far.
“He has led a blameless life so far and does not know what will happen with his job.” Mr Gowans added.
MacNeill was fined £500 and banned from driving for 18 months.