A drug-addicted doctor whose wife passed out after he injected her with heroin has been given a chance to get his life back in order.
Ashley Sibery, 39, whose future as a GP is also in doubt, returned to court today to be sentenced after admitting a charge of culpable and reckless conduct.
But Sheriff Elizabeth Jarvie QC heard that wife Sital was standing by him and former colleagues had also written testimonials.
And defence solicitor Duncan Batchelor said Sibery was undergoing residential treatment for his addiction to drink and drugs - which those caring for him wanted to continue.
“A custodial sentence would interrupt is current treatment and have an adverse effect on it. It would also increase the risk of him re-offending,” said the lawyer.
Sheriff Jarvie said that she would continue the case until December to see whether Sibery successfully completed his treatment and consider the question of sentence then.
At an earlier hearing, Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told how Sital Sibery became suspicious of her husband’s strange behaviour.
During an emotional exchange at their home in London Street, Edinburgh on April 2 - just after putting their three-year-old son to bed - he confessed that he had been addicted to heroin for two months.
Fiscal Bruce Macrosson said today that Sibery told his wife he was buying street drugs and had a £55 a day habit.
He also promised not to buy more and said there was only a small amount left in the house.
The court heard how Sibery then asked Sital if she would like to try some. He wanted her to feel what he felt when using the drug. When she agreed, he prepared an injection.
“After a few minutes his wife collapsed and lost consciousness,” said Mr Macrosson.
Sibley called in paramedics and they administered an antidote before taking Mrs Sibery to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where she was kept under observation for six hours before being allowed home.
Mr Batchelor said: “They had both been drinking alcohol and they had an emotional conversation.”
The lawyer continued: “He accepts that his behaviour was reckless but he was under the influence of alcohol and heroin at the time and as not thinking clearly.”
He said that after Mrs Sibery passed out, her husband “took appropriate action” and provided information the paramedics needed.
When later questioned by police he co-operated fully.
“He wants to become abstinent from drink and drugs,” said Mr Batchelor. Sibery was attending a professional support group as well as Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous.
Sibery, a GP in Lothian, is currently on the sick list, the court heard. The General Medical Council have also suspended his registration and their investigations into his criminal offence and health problems are likely to take a year before there is a final decision about whether he can continue to work as a doctor.
As he left Edinburgh Sheriff Court today, Sibery said he did not think it right to comment while the case was still on-going.