A 25-year-old has been sentenced for a series of traffic offences, which include a late-night accident that saw him hit a pedestrian and an attempt to flee from police after being caught driving at 70mph along Braye Road.
For the first of the offences, Aaron Batiste was driving along Les Salines Road in the Vale at about 21:05 on 12 October last year.
It was a dark, wet and windy evening and the defendant admitted he had been driving too fast for the weather conditions, though he maintained that he was not going over the speed limit.
He came across a group of seven pedestrians who had been drinking and were in the road. As he came towards a sharp bend, Batiste approached in his car and four of the men had to jump into the hedge to avoid being hit.
The defendant braked and, because of the wet conditions, the car skidded about five metres down the road, turning 90 degrees.
One of the men was hit by the car and sustained a fractured skull. It is understood the man has since made a full recovery, but for months afterwards he was having difficulty with his eyesight, hearing, smell, taste and being able to stand for long periods.
The defendant was interviewed by police and charged with driving without due care and attention. However, on 28 April this year he came to police attention once again.
He was parked in Waitrose car park at about 17:30, sat in his vehicle with the engine still running. He appeared unconscious so a member of the public, who was concerned for his welfare, called the police.
Officers woke Batiste who appeared dazed and confused. When asked for his name he gave a woman's name and seemed to be falling asleep mid-conversation.
He complied with a roadside alcohol breath test, which came back with a reading of 0. The defendant told the officers he had only taken gabapentin, which he had been prescribed. However, his blood results showed he had used cannabis and MDMA along with the prescribed medication.
Pictured: The defendant was stopped in Waitrose car park when a member of the public called the police.
When they searched the car, officers found 8.26g of cannabis resin hidden in a compartment by the gearstick.
The defendant was further charged with being in control of a vehicle whilst under the influence of drugs, and possession of a Class B drug, and was bailed.
Just a matter of weeks later, police officers were carrying out roadside speed checks along Braye Road when they noticed Batiste, who was driving at about 70mph along the 25mph road.
They didn't catch up with him but instead went to his home address, where they saw his car as it was about to turn into the estate. But when he spotted the officers, the defendant accelerated past and drove in a different direction.
The officers eventually caught up with him a couple of hours later at Oatlands car park and he was cautioned.
Pictured: The defendant admitted he was driving too fast for the weather conditions.
Addressing the court, Defence Advocate Phoebe Cobb said the first of Batiste's series of offences had been a "terrible accident".
"[The pedestrians] were too widespread across the road and the incident happened too quickly for him to be able to avoid them," she said. "He does accept that he was going too quickly for the weather conditions and for travelling round that bend, but he had not anticipated there would be pedestrians in the road.
"It is every driver's worst nightmare and this is indeed a nightmare for Mr Batiste."
Advocate Cobb said the "traumatic" experience had "paved the way for the deterioration in [the defendant's] mental health and subsequent offences".
Batiste's mental health state worsened more during lockdown and Advocate Cobb said the defendant had started using cannabis as way of self-medicating, but has since "curbed his illicit substance use."
However, the Advocate said it was "difficult to tether just how Mr Batiste has gone on to commit a speeding offence."
Pictured: The officers were carrying out speed checks.
"You'd have thought after the collision in October he would have gone the other way and would have become more cautious," she admitted, before suggesting that the offence had been down to the defendant's worsening mental health.
"I would ask the court to show exceptional leniency," Advocate Cobb concluded. "Of course, it has been an exceptional year. Mr Batiste tells me this won't happen again and he won't be back before you."
The defendant has previous convictions, including other traffic offences.
"You clearly have a bad record," Judge Graeme McKerrell told the defendant.
"I recognise the injuries suffered and hope they won't be forever, but whatever way you look at it they are very serious."
Pictured: A member of the public was concerned for the defendant and called the police.
Judge McKerrell said, despite the injuries caused by Batiste's careless driving, that his drug-driving offence was seen as the most serious by the Court.
"You were not only unfit [to drive] but completely comatose," he explained. "It's all about the potential consequences rather than the actual consequences.
The Judge said the speeding offence which followed had been "blindingly stupid, dangerous and utterly unacceptable."
"You've got a terrible record and you've made it significantly worse," he added.
Despite the serious offences, Judge McKerrell was "confident" that sending the defendant to prison "would not achieve anything", and wouldn't appropriately protect the public from harm.
Batiste was disqualified from driving for a total of four years and months. He was also ordered to carry out 180 hours of community service as a direct alternative to four months in prison, and was fined £1,000.
Pictured top: The defendant was sentenced in the Magistrate's Court.
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