• STV
  • MySTV

Former police officer's ban for running red light lifted

Natasha Watt crashed as she responded to an emergency call in Aberdeen.

Court: Ms Watt activated lights but not siren (file pic).
Court: Ms Watt activated lights but not siren (file pic). © STV

A former police officer who crashed when she ran a red light responding to a distress call has had a driving ban overturned.

Natasha Watt was given a 12-month disqualification after she admitted dangerous driving at Aberdeen Sheriff Court following the collision with two other vehicles.

Appeal sheriffs have quashed the ban, however, and instead given her five penalty points on her licence.

Ms Watt, 23, from Aberdeenshire, was driving a police vehicle responding to an emergency report when she and a colleague received a distress call during which she heard an officer scream.

Her counsel told the Sheriff Appeal Court in Edinburgh that Watt had approached a junction in Aberdeen at about 15mph on Clifton Road and slowed to 10mph as she went through a red light in November 2014.

She had activated flashing blue lights but not the siren on the vehicle.

The counsel maintained Ms Watt was at the centre of an urgent situation and it was reasonable to infer she must have feared for the safety of a colleague.

She argued that the sheriff who disqualified her had erred in rejecting the argument that special reasons existed why she should not be given the mandatory minimum 12-month ban.

Sheriff principal Craig Scott QC said in a judgment published on Friday: "We have reached the conclusion that the sheriff's approach to the matter cannot be supported.

"For our part, we are satisfied that the appellant would probably not have entered the junction in the face of a red light were it not for the emergency nature of the mission she was undertaking.

"In other words, the extenuating circumstances generated by the emergency were, to our mind, unquestionably connected to the commission of the offence.

"Whilst the appellant did indeed plead guilty to a charge of driving dangerously, it was a momentary failing on the part of the appellant which created that offence.

"It may have been unfortunate that the appellant overlooked to activate the vehicle's siren but in driving as she did she had in mind the safety of other road users, she activated the vehicle's blue lights and significantly reduced the speed of the vehicle.

"Against that background, it is, in our opinion, eminently open to this court to determine that special reasons ought to have been held established by the sheriff," the sheriff principal concluded.

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.