A bus driver was caught watching football on his phone as he drove passengers through Fife.
Khyle Stewart, 24, was driving the Stagecoach X58 Edinburgh to Kirkcaldy service when a passenger looked along the side of the bus and spotted him in the vehicle’s wing mirror, watching the game.
He was on the B9157 Orrock Quarry Road, between Aberdour and Kirkcaldy, on the evening of May 4 last year.
Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court heard the witness was two rows back from the driver’s cab and had been watching the same game on his own phone.
He had seen the driver’s phone positioned on a ledge next to the handbrake.
Stewart was told by a sheriff his actions could have resulted in a “major incident”.
However, he explained he would not jail him or ban him from driving.
The match he was watching was not revealed in court but that night, there was a Champions League semi-final between Manchester City and Paris Saint Germain and a Scottish Fife derby Scottish Premiership play-off quarter-final between Dunfermline and Raith Rovers.
A Stagecoach spokesperson said following a passenger complaint they suspended Stewart and launched a probe, which included reviewing CCTV footage.
“The driver was subsequently dismissed for serious misconduct.
“As a responsible transport operator, we also reported the case to police, which resulted in the driver being charged and prosecuted in court.
“Safety is our absolute priority and we will not tolerate any actions which put our customers or others at risk”.
He pled guilty to driving a public passenger bus while culpably and recklessly repeatedly watching moving images on a mobile phone, thereby failing to maintain proper observation of the road.
The charge also states he drove at excessive speeds and caused the vehicle to brake suddenly, all to the danger and risk of injury to himself, passengers and other road users.
Potential ‘major incident’
Defence lawyer Katie Stewart said her client’s actions were “stupid and immature” and he is aware of the risk to the public.
The solicitor said Stewart now works as a tyre technician and his employer has invested £3,000 in his training and holds him in “high esteem.”
Ms Stewart said his job depends on him having a driving licence.
Sheriff Timothy Niven-Smith described the incident as a “serious case”.
“Even for a moment’s inadvertence, it could have resulted in serious injury not simply to you but to passengers, including death of road traffic users and passengers.
“If a bus of that size went out of control it would be a major incident, particularly with regard to the road you were travelling on.
“I am pretty sure, notwithstanding your lack of previous convictions, if you were not a young person (under 25 in line with sentencing guidelines) you would be receiving a period of prison”.
The sheriff sentenced Stewart to a 60-day restriction of liberty order during which he must stay at home between 7pm and 7am.
Sheriff Niven-Smith said he considered the fact Stewart is currently employed as a “protective factor” in deciding not to disqualify him from driving.
The sheriff said this is because the court considers it preferable Stewart retains his employment.
Stewart also appeared in court over a series of domestic offences which Sheriff Timothy Niven-Smith described as a “dreadful course of conduct” towards his ex-partner.
He admitted behaving in a threatening or abusive manner by shouting, swearing and acting aggressively towards the woman at an address in Kirkcaldy‘s Cawdor Crescent, between June 23 and 24 this year.
Procurator fiscal depute Rachel Hill told the court the couple had broken up and the woman asked Stewart to leave the house.
She received a welfare check from a police officer, who could hear Stewart in the background.
A response unit was sent and he was arrested.
Stewart pled guilty to breaching bail conditions not to contact the woman, including making phone calls to her from prison after he had been remanded.
In relation to the domestic offending, Stewart must carry out 120 hours unpaid work and was made subject to an offender supervision order for one year.
A two year non-harassment order was also imposed.