Legal history as chief constable to stand trial over ‘careless driving’

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THE Chief Constable of Fife Constabulary is to stand trial after she denied causing a head-on car crash that left another woman injured.

Norma Graham – Scotland’s first ever female chief constable – was involved in the collision on 7 February as she drove to work at Fife Constabulary HQ in Glenrothes.

She and another motorist, Hannah Shedden, were taken to hospital following the smash on the B922 Cluny to Kinglassie Road.

Her unmarked, dark blue Audi Quattro car and the other motorist’s Renault Clio were both badly damaged in the smash.

Now Ms Graham, 49, who earns £120,000 a year and is set to retire later this year, faces a charge of careless driving over the incident.

It is thought this is the first time in Scottish legal history that a chief constable has been cited to appear in court as an 
accused person.

Yesterday was the third time the case has called in court – with the top officer again absent, with her retirement date from the force just three weeks away.

It had earlier been continued without a plea being entered twice, with lawyers saying they needed time to complete “investigations” into the case. Her solicitor, Sally McKenzie, told Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court that Ms Graham denied the charge of driving without due care and attention, brought on summary complaint.

The charge against Ms Graham alleges that on 7 February on the B922 Cluny to Kinglassie Road, she drove her 2009 Audi Quattro without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road. It is alleged that Chief Constable Graham failed to keep the vehicle under proper control and caused it to collide with Ms Shedden’s Renault Clio.

Prosecutors say that, as a result, both vehicles were damaged and both Chief Constable Graham and Hannah Shedden were injured.

Procurator fiscal depute Claire Millar said: “I ask that the usual dates be fixed.”

Sheriff Richard Macfarlane set a trial date in December, and ordered Miss Graham to appear at a pre-trial hearing in November.

A spokesman for Fife Constabulary declined to comment on the case.

Chief Constable Graham joined Lothian and Borders 
Police as a cadet in 1978, aged 16.

She began her career proper two years later as a police constable on the beat in her home town of Musselburgh.

She rose to the rank of detective chief superintendent in charge of criminal investigation.

During the early part of her career, she undertook a number of uniformed and specialist roles including head of the force’s drug squad.

Ms Graham was appointed assistant chief constable at 
Central Scotland Police in 2002 and in 2005 she was strategic commander for the G8 summit held at Gleneagles, Perthshire.

She later moved to Fife as deputy chief constable and was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for Services to Policing in 2008. In July that year, she was promoted to chief constable.