BBC presenter James Naughtie banned for drink driving from Edinburgh bar

BBC radio presenter James Naughtie has been banned from the road after he was caught behind the wheel of his car while over the drink drive limit.

Naughtie, 69, was spotted getting into his car by a member of the public after he had stopped off for a glass of wine at Bennet’s Bar in Morningside, Edinburgh.

The award-winning Scots journalist was traced to his nearby capital home by police officers and admitted he had been driving his vehicle that afternoon in October 2019.

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He was asked was to provide a roadside breath test and was found to have 35mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is just 22mg of alcohol.

BBC radio presenter James Naughtie leave courtBBC radio presenter James Naughtie leave court
BBC radio presenter James Naughtie leave court

The retired Radio 4 news anchor appeared in the dock at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last Tuesday under his full name of Alexander James Naughtie where he pleaded guilty to driving while over the limit.

Prosecutor Ross Price said: “Around 3pm in the afternoon the accused left Bennet’s Bar and a member [of the public] saw him getting into his vehicle and called police.

“Officers made enquiries and attended at the accused’s home address at 3:17pm and breathalysed him.

“He confirmed he was the driver [of the vehicle] that afternoon.”

Solicitor Sean Flanagan, defending, said his client had been driving to his Edinburgh home and decided to stop off at the public house “for one glass of wine”.

The lawyer added Naughtie, whose address was given as Blackthorn Avenue, London, had only driven “a relatively short distance” from the bar to his home and had co-operated fully with police.

Sheriff Peter McCormack fined the shamed motorist a total of £500 and banned him from driving for 12 months.

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The sheriff said Naughtie would be allowed to take part in a drink drive rehabilitation scheme if he chooses which, if passed successfully, would see his road ban by reduced by three months.

Naughtie pleaded guilty to driving a vehicle with 35mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath at Maxwell Street, Morningside Road and Cluny Gardens, all Edinburgh, on October 20, 2019.

The former news man was one of the main presenters of Radio 4’s popular Today show from 1994 to 2015.

The father-of-three retired as an anchor for the show after 21 years, but continues to appear as a special correspondent.

He also holds the position of BBC News Books Editor and is reported to earn around £170,000 a year as a contributor to the organisation.

He began his journalist career at the Aberdeen Press and Journal in 1975 before moving to London offices of The Scotsman two years later.

Naughtie has also worked for The Washington Post and was appointed The Guardian’s Chief Political Correspondent in 1985.

He was named as Journalist of the Year at the 1984 Scottish Press Awards and was voted Radio Personality of the Year at the Sony Radio Awards in 1991.

The acclaimed presenter was also elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in March 2017.