Crown lawyer banned after crashing car while drunk

A FORMER senior Scottish prosecutor who crashed into a parked car while drunk at the wheel has been banned from driving for 18 months.

Fiscal Anne Hart, 39, broke her sternum and right arm when her Audi smashed so hard into a parked Ford Ka that it flipped on to its side.

The crash came just months after she was cleared of being drunk in charge of a vehicle, despite being found slumped at the wheel while almost three times the drink drive limit.

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Hart received an 18-month ban and a 400 fine at Dundee Sheriff Court yesterday after admitting drink-driving and crashing with a parked car in Dundee, on 27 July last year.

Hart, who has now resigned from the fiscal service, had told the court her "alcohol intake had become problematic" following her mother's death and the break-up of her marriage.

Her solicitor George Donnelly said yesterday that a social inquiry report and a report by Tayside Alcohol Problems Service both indicated she was now "doing very well".

He added: "Everything is extremely encouraging. She is keeping fit and is training to run a marathon."

Sheriff Peter Grant-Hutchison said: "It is to your credit that you realise there is a problem and you are addressing that problem. I take that into account."

Depute fiscal Catriona Bryden earlier said that the collision happened at about 5pm on a Monday.

Ms Bryden said: "The car-owner's boyfriend was in the house and heard tyres screeching and a loud bang and went to investigate.

"He saw his girlfriend's car lying on its side about ten metres from where it had been parked. He saw the accused in the driver's side, opened the door, and she gave him her contact details and said she had to go home and lie down and she walked away."

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When police arrived at the scene, Hart was being treated by ambulance staff.

Hart, who was based at the Dundee procurator fiscal office, admitted to police that she had been driving the vehicle when it collided with another car.

The fiscal added: "Police detected alcohol on her breath and she gave a positive breath test.

"She was taken to hospital where she was treated for a broken sternum and a broken right arm.

"When released, she was taken to police headquarters where she provided a blood specimen found to have contained 98 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood."

Mr Donnelly said Hart was trying to light a cigarette when she collided with the other vehicle.

Hart blamed her spiral into drink on the death of her mother in July 2008, the breakdown of her marriage and financial difficulties.

Mr Donnelly said: "It was a decision she made and a decision she must live with. These proceedings have caused considerable angst, upset and anxiety.

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"This incident is probably the wake-up call that she required. She is now clean, drink-free and attending regular Tayside Alcohol Problems Service meetings."

Last April, Hart was acquitted by Sheriff Jamie Gilmour at Arbroath Sheriff Court, despite being found by police in her BMW as it blocked traffic in Monifieth, Angus, on 12 January.

She was almost three times the limit after downing a quarter-bottle of vodka in her car and was charged with being drunk in charge of a vehicle. Her solicitor Jim Williamson successfully argued she had not intended to drive and had placed the car keys on the passenger side floor as a precaution.

In 2006, Hart was part of the prosecution team that put Britain's worst drink driver, John Williamson, in jail and resulted in him being banned from the roads for nine lifetimes.