Accused Scots driver jubilant as court error halts trial

John Phillips laughed as he left Perth Sheriff Court. Picture: Ian Rutherford
John Phillips laughed as he left Perth Sheriff Court. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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A man previously jailed for drunk driving and dangerous driving punched the air and laughed as he left court last week when a new case against him collapsed because prosecutors forgot to sign court papers.

John Phillips – who has amassed nearly 50 years in driving bans since 2007 – walked free after a sheriff spotted the Crown’s mistake.

Phillips, from Perth, laughed and shouted “yes” as he left Perth Sheriff Court when the mistake came to light minutes before he was due to stand trial on a series of new driving charges.

The 26-year-old was about to enter the dock for his trial when Sheriff Richard MacFarlane said: “I don’t think it’s going to be a trial, because the complaint’s not signed. It seems that the Crown is devoid of any attempt at a signature, so the case does not call.”

Phillips – who has been described as “car-obsessed” and has convictions for 34 previous offences – left court after being informed what the mistake meant.

He had been due to face charges of driving while banned, without insurance or an MOT certificate, and failing to stop for uniformed police officers.

Phillips was also alleged to have failed to provide a breath specimen when it was suspected he was drink- driving during the incident in various streets around Perth on 5 July this year.

He is currently subject to a ten-year ban imposed in February last year when he was also jailed for 20 months for a string of driving offences.

In that incident, he was already banned when he sped off from a pub.