A sheriff showed mercy yesterday to a police officer who drove dangerously across the Moray area while responding to a 999 call.
Sheriff Susan Raeburn said that exceptional circumstances warranted his “poor” decision.
Constable Stewart Dick, 32, was given an absolute discharge, avoiding a driving ban.
Dick admitted that he drove carelessly along the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road on the wrong side of the road.
He also admitted narrowly avoiding another car as he drove the wrong way around two roundabouts — at the Fochabers bypass and also between the A96 and B9015.
However, Sheriff Raeburn said while Mr Dick made a “poor” decision, he was responding to a suspected death.
Defence advocate Edith Forrest told the court that Dick — who is first aid trained — received information that he was going to beat an ambulance to the scene.
Sheriff Raeburn said she decided not to punish him, as she believed he was trying to save a life in exceptional circumstances.
The sheriff added that it would be appropriate for Mr Dick to “retrain and get his confidence back” after fiscal depute Sharon Ralph told the court the former bus driver had been restricted from answering emergency calls since the incident in March last year.
Last night, the decision was welcomed by David Hamilton, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation’s north area committee. He said he was “gobsmacked” that the case even made it as far as court.
Mr Hamilton said police officers find it “difficult to comprehend” why such cases end up in court when there is no injury or damage to other vehicles.
“The circumstances in this case were clear from the outset that he was trying to save somebody’s life,” he said.
“It was unfair for the witnesses that they were not told that, and it was a tremendous waste of court time for a piece of driving in which nobody was injured.
“I would say there needs to be questions raised regarding the appropriateness of some of these prosecutions.
“It’s a judgement call that officers have to make, but I think Stewart Dick should be commended for his efforts.”
A police spokeswoman said a report was now being prepared by professional standards officers for the consideration of the designated deputy chief constable.