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Top fraud lawyer is jailed for dangerous and drink-driving

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A LAWYER who drove dangerously while nearly four times the alcohol limit was jailed for six weeks.

Alex Ferguson’s profile on LinkedIn says he has been working in Guernsey with an international co-operation team on asset recovery cases since October 2017.

Alexander Ferguson, 45, of Le Petit Manoir, Route de Pleinmont, Torteval, admitted charges of drink-driving and dangerous driving.

He was also banned from driving for four years.

Prosecuting advocate Alan Merrien told the Magistrate’s Court that someone had called police one December evening at about 8.20 to say they were following a red Mini Cooper near the Vale Church.

It was swerving in the road and had clipped the pavement on a number of occasions.

When the vehicle reached the Halfway filter and turned right towards Town, it mounted the cycle path and stayed on it until it was opposite the La Tonnelle building at Les Banques.

The witness followed the defendant and saw his car veer on to the wrong side of the road near Morley corner by Fort Road.

Police arrived at 8.26pm and the defendant stopped within 10 seconds after blue lights and siren were used.

He was arrested. A test at the police station identified 132 micrograms of alcohol per 100ml of his breath. The legal limit is 35.

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Ferguson, who wept throughout court proceedings, had no previous convictions.

Advocate Liam Roffey said people who knew his client described him as an honest, diligent, and hard-working family man.

They were dumbfounded as to how someone of such high integrity, who had worked in numerous jurisdictions, had found himself before the court.

People had described him as one of the finest lawyers they had ever dealt with and he was respected both professionally and personally.

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The director of enforcement at the Guernsey Financial Services Commission was among those who had penned character references.

Ferguson had booked Homes James taxi for 8pm to get him home, but had made the grave error of getting behind the wheel at about the same time. The logical conclusion for this was that his judgement had been impaired by alcohol.

His client had moved to Guernsey in 2017. He was working under contract and it was planned that his family would move here when the job became permanent. The civil service did not work quickly, however, and this had not happened.

His client had begun to struggle with the separation from his family and he had not realised the extent of it.

He could not go back to the UK and visit his family as finances were tight and he spent weekends driving monotonous circuits of the coast road.

A medical expert had diagnosed anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.

His client had been described as upset, guilt-ridden, and a broken man. But he was determined to get his life back on track and had sought professional help since this incident.

Judge Cherry McMillen said she accepted the defendant was a man of exemplary character who was hard-working and dedicated to his family.

But he had driven a considerable distance and it was more by luck than design that nobody had been hurt.

‘Unfortunate though it is to say, I consider it likely that the reading is one of the top [highest] three or four to come before the court in 2018,’ she said.

There were clear medical issues and she suspected he had been self-medicating with alcohol.

It was accepted that it would cost the defendant his job, probably his career, and that there would be other implications for him but an immediate custodial sentence was inevitable.

Nigel Baudains

By Nigel Baudains
News reporter

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