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Policeman admits to driving dangerously on way to call

A POLICE officer has admitted driving dangerously while responding to an emergency involving children and a firearm.

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

He sped across several busy junctions, jumped red lights and caused other cars to swerve out his way to avoid hitting the police 4x4.

The police constable appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court yesterday where he admitted driving dangerously on February 12 last year.

The charge was made of up 15 different parts detailing examples of the officer's driving on six different roads across Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray.

He drove 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.

The Police Scotland officer was due to go on trial, but made a plea in mitigation at court yesterday 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 an on duty police officer.

"He was responding to an incident involving a firearm, a knife and children."

The court heard Kearney was on duty 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.

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.

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 particular circumstances of the case.

Kearney, whose address was given as Police Service of Scotland, Bucksburn Police Station, is expected to give evidence.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "We can confirm that a police officer appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court yesterday in connection with dangerous driving on roads in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire whilst the officer was responding to an emergency call on February 12, 2013.

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

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