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St Andrews Jehovah’s Witness used religion to hinder police inquiries

Andrew Webber, Dundee police headquarters
Andrew Webber refused to co-operate at Dundee police headquarters.

A Jehovah’s Witness refused to provide a breath test or personal details to Dundee police, citing “religious reasons” after being stopped for careless driving.

Andrew Webber was thought by a witness in Tayport to be under the influence  on March 21.

The 32-year-old had been seen driving a Volkswagen carelessly and behaving erratically and police were called to attend.

A court was told he was not drink-driving as he does not consume alcohol.

Webber of Boase Avenue, St. Andrews, pled guilty to charges of careless driving and failing to co-operate with authorities.

Police found accused in vehicle

Fiscal depute Christina Allen told Dundee Sheriff Court how police discovered Webber inside the vehicle on the wrong side of the road.

“At 6.30pm a witness heard a car alarm and an engine revving quite highly and then observed the accused in the vehicle, striking the wall of a business.

“The witness observed the accused’s behaviour and thought he might be under the influence and called the police.

“At 6.53pm police arrived and made their way to the accused’s vehicle, which was on the wrong side of the road.”

She said an officer asked the accused to stop but he continued to drive slowly towards her, before coming to a halt.

Refused to provide details to police

When asked to provide a breath test, Webber refused to comply, citing “religious reasons”.

When asked to provide personal details – his name, address, date of birth and nationality – he refused, again citing his beliefs.

Upon being conveyed to police headquarters on West Bell Street, Dundee, Webber still refused to comply with a breath test.

Defence counsel Mike Short told the court his client has had long standing mental health issues, for which he is currently seeking treatment.

He said his client is a Jehovah’s Witness and does not drink alcohol.

On the day of the offences, Weber was upset over a family matter, which led to his erratic behaviour, according to Mr Short.

“He accepts his error and recognises that this is unacceptable behaviour,” he added.

Sheriff John Rafferty fined Webber a total of £1,350 and disqualified him from driving for 18 months.

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