A man drove his car into the path of a police van before a chase into a picturesque Fife village and was then caught with 125g of cannabis while hiding in a garden.
Dundee Sheriff Court was told Aaron Hutchison, of Gourlay Crescent, St Monans, borrowed his friend’s car on July 11 and said he had purchased insurance for the day.
At 12.01 am on July 12, police were on patrol on the A917 St Andrews to Crail road when they narrowly avoided colliding with the car.
Fiscal depute Rachel Hill said: “While police officers were coming up to the junction with the B940, the vehicle in question pulled out at a Give Way sign and this forced the officers to apply the brakes.
“The vehicle then accelerated away, making off at excessive speed into the 30mph limit into Crail. Police attempted to pursue but lost sight of the vehicle due to its excessive speed.”
The car was later found on Castle Street, with residents pointing out to officers he had run off into a garden.
Ms Hill said: “They located the vehicle. It had come to a stop against a tree and on top of a small wall. The householder said the driver had run into the garden.”
He was arrested and was found in possession of cannabis. Officers found no evidence of Hutchison, 22, having an insurance policy.
The first offender, recently paid off from his job as a baggage handler at Edinburgh Airport, pled guilty to driving carelessly by failing to give way at a junction, driving into the path of a police vehicle and causing an officer to take evasive action to avoid a collision.
He also admitted driving in excess of the 30mph speed limit and without insurance.
Cannabis value dispute
The recovered cannabis was said to be worth £1,250, although, it was later established the “poor quality, leafy material” may be worth a fraction of that figure.
Solicitor Lee Qumsieh said his client disputed the value of the cannabis and said the drugs were “poor quality”.
A social work report revealed how Hutchison said he was doing a friend a favour by holding onto the drugs but did not know what to do with them.
“His position is the police officers had to apply the brakes, it was a misjudgement on his part,” Mr Qumsieh said.
“The drugs were very poor quality, leafy material that he was given free of charge.”
After considerable debate, it was later established the reporting police officer in the case accepted that the drugs would have been worth much less than the estimated street value.
Sheriff John Rafferty slammed the Crown’s handling of the figure as “totally unacceptable”.
He said: “The presentation of this case, the narrative from the Crown, is well below any reasonable standard the court would accept.
“To be told the Crown were insisting on that figure, for it to be vigorously challenged and for that information to come out at the 11th hour is totally unacceptable. We are dealing with the liberty of a 21-year-old.”
Sentence was deferred on Hutchison until next month for a restriction of liberty assessment to be obtained.