NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Police officer John Kearney admits driving dangerously through Aberdeen

John Kearney Image copyright Newsline
Image caption Police officer John Kearney made a plea in mitigation for the driving offences

A police officer has admitted to driving dangerously in a 4x4 while responding to an emergency involving children and a firearm.

PC John Kearney, 49, was caught multiple times on the wrong side of the road and driving at excess speeds while responding to the blue-light call.

He also sped across several busy junctions, jumped red lights and caused other cars to swerve out the way.

The incidents took place on six roads in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray.

At Aberdeen Sheriff Court, Kearney admitted driving dangerously on 12 February 2013. The charge was made of up 15 sections giving examples of his driving.

Excess speed

The court heard how he had driven on the opposite carriageway 11 times, overtook when it was unsafe to do so nine times, drove at an excess speed eight times, caused six other vehicles to take evasive action, and lost control of the car twice.

Kearney was due to go on trial later this month but made a plea in mitigation, claiming he was on his way to an emergency.

Defence agent Les Green said: "My client was a member of the armed response unit. He was responding to an incident involving a firearm, a knife and children."

The court heard Kearney was on duty at the time when the call came through for the emergency involving a firearm.

He sped through the countryside in a police Land Rover Discovery - typically used by armed response units - as he made his way to the scene.

Six vehicles had to swerve to avoid colliding with the vehicle.

He drove at excess speed on Westburn Road in Aberdeen, a 30mph limit zone, before jumping a red light.

When approaching a junction he jumped another red light while going at excess speed.

Lost control

He then drove out the city on North Anderson drive, where he moved onto the opposite carriageway - causing an oncoming car to take evasive action to avoid a crash.

He then drove onto the opposite carriageway at the city's infamous bottleneck - the Haudagain roundabout - causing more vehicles to dodge out of his way.

Kearney lost control of the car on the A90 at Muggiemoss Road while driving at excess speed and on the opposite carriageway.

The court papers stated he continued on the A947 between Parkhill and Fyvie - several times going onto the opposite carriageway and overtaking when it was unsafe to do so.

He then went on the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road, going on the wrong side of the road, doing risky overtaking manoeuvres and causing other drivers to get out of his way.

Mr Green said his client could fully explain his actions and asked for a special evidential hearing to be fixed for next month.

Video footage

The court heard that information from the police control room, video footage from inside the car and another officer who was in the car at the time could help provide evidence.

Mr Green added: "The interior video has the bulk of the exchange."

Sheriff Christopher Shead agreed to set a hearing next month to hear the exact circumstances of the case.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: "A report on the full circumstances will now be prepared by the Professional Standards Department for the consideration of the designated Deputy Chief Constable.

"In line with good employment practice, it would be inappropriate for Police Scotland to make any further comment at this stage."

It is understood that Kearney has not been suspended from duty at present.

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