A 47-year-old Royal Navy sailor has appeared at Dumbarton Sheriff’s Court for the second time in three months, this time charged with drink driving.
Ratu Ralawa had been drinking in the Royal Bar on West Clyde Street, Helensburgh, on New Year’s Day. Police arrested him as he sat in the driver’s seat of his 4×4 in a car park near his home just after midnight the following day.
Prosecuting, Emma Petterson told the court: “At 7pm on January 1, the accused was in the Royal Bar in Helensburgh. The barman observed him drinking and was of the opinion he was drunk.
“At around midnight the barman contacted police, as he had seen the accused driving off.
“Police traced the accused at around 12.20am, in a car park outside his home. They spoke to the accused, who appeared to be very intoxicated.”
Ralawa identified himself as the driver before police took him to the police station in Greenock. He was cautioned and charged, to which he replied: “I’ve just been stupid.”
Officers carried out further checks, discovering that he only had a provisional licence and was not in fact insured to drive the car.
Defending, Judith Reid told the court her client had pleaded guilty to three driving charges at the earliest opportunity, saying “It was a matter of complete stupidity,”
“I don’t think there was any good reason at all for the driving; he took his wife’s car without her permission.
“There will be a knock-on effect in the services: he tells me he will keep his job but will be sanctioned separately by them in respect of this matter.
“He’s going to have to deal with the consequences of his disqualification while continuing to support his family.”
Ralawa had appeared at the same court in December charged with assaulting his partner at their home in August; he was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.
Sheriff John Hamilton – who also passed sentence in December – said: “It’s extremely disappointing that you are before me again. What a mess.
“What a stupid thing to do. I’ve no idea what your commanding officer will think of this, but there must be a time when the question will be asked whether or not you are suitable to be a sailor in Her Majesty’s Navy.
“Given what you have done to get yourself in the Navy, it’s an absolute disgrace that you should put that in jeopardy by drinking and driving with no excuse whatsoever. It brings disgrace on your service.”
After pleading guilty to drink driving, Sheriff Hamilton banned him from the roads for 18 months, adding another 80 hours unpaid work to his December sentence.
About Carl Millar
Carl Millar is a highly respected and experienced drink driving solicitor who is the principal of Millars Solicitors.
Carl has been a specialist in road traffic law for many years and represents clients from all walks of life and all over the Country. He is well known for the dogged defending of his clients and robust cross examination of police officers and exert witnesses.
With a wealth of expertise in motoring law Carl is well placed to provide advice over the phone and deal with all road traffic matters in a calm and professional way.
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