A drink driver whose actions resulted in the death of his friend has failed in a legal bid to have his licence restored.
Murray Geddes, 43, was sent to prison for nine years after admitting he caused the death of passenger Graeme McKenzie, 37, by driving dangerously in May 2014 on the A941 Craigellachie to Rothes road in Moray.
Mr McKenzie, an offshore worker from Rothes, was thrown from Geddes’ Audi S3. The driver later told police he got into the car because he was fed up waiting for a taxi.
Judge Lord Glennie also banned Geddes from driving for 12 years. However, appeal judges reduced Geddes’s jail term to six years and cut his disqualification to eight years.
On Thursday, defence solicitor advocate Iain Paterson asked the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh to restore Geddes’s driving licence early.
Mr Paterson told the court that his client used to be an offshore worker but had lost his job. He said Geddes had started up his own decorating business and relied upon lifts from an elderly employee.
However, judges Lord Menzies, Lord Malcolm and Lord Woolman refused to grant Geddes’s request.
Lord Menzies said: “We consider that the original offence of which he was convicted of was so serious and of such gravity that it would not be appropriate to grant removal of this disqualification.
“The petitioner has already had the benefit of the original sentence, which included 12 years disqualification being reduced on appeal to eight years and we do not consider having regard to the gravity of the original offence that it would be appropriate to grant this petition.
“So we refuse this petition.”
‘It is something he will never forget’
At proceedings in 2014, a court heard how a motorist who was overtaken by Geddes later said: “I would say it was like a speed demon.”
A witness saw the car fail to negotiate a bend and leave the road. It became airborne and spun three times.
The court also heard that Geddes had a speeding conviction from March for driving at 93mph in a 60mph zone on the A96 near Huntly.
Defence counsel David Moggach said the victim was a close and long-standing friend of Geddes.
He said: “It is something he will never forget. He will live with the consequences of this for the remainder of his life.”
Judge Lord Glennie said: “You have lost a close friend, but his family have lost a son, a brother, a husband and a father.”
He added: “I accept the genuineness of your remorse.”
‘He would be the safest driver he could possibly be’
On Thursday, Mr Paterson told the court that Geddes needed his licence back so he could continue to work.
He added: “He has started a small business as a painter and decorator. That was his original trade before he started working offshore.
“That small business relies upon a friend and now colleague who is in his 70s to drive a van. That friend now wishes to cease undertaking that type of employment which will leave the appellant in a difficult situation.
“He has said to me that if my lords were to grant this petition he would be the safest driver he could possibly be and he would certainly not be in a situation of driving in the manner he drove on the occasion in relation to this particular offence.”
However, the appeal judges refused to grant the petition.