Dodgy driver with 14 road convictions loses gun licence appeal

A DRIVER stripped of his gun licence after being deemed too irresponsible has lost a court battle to win it back.

Businessman Roberto Morelli took legal action against Lothian and Borders Police’s Chief Constable, David Strang, claiming the decision to revoke his licence last year was “over the top” and “very unfair”.

Morelli, of Dodridge Farm House, Pathhead, Midlothian, picked up 14 convictions for road traffic offences over a ten-year period between June 2001 and July 2011, Sheriff William Holligan was told.

They included driving while using a mobile phone three times, driving without a test certificate four times and another three instances of failing to produce a driving licence or insurance.

That led police to declare him too irresponsible to hold a shotgun licence, which was taken from him in October 2011.

Morelli told the court he was a businessman who employed 40 people and ran four businesses. He said he did not accept he was irresponsible and that in running his businesses had never come to the adverse attention of the police.

But after a string of road offences, he was sent three letters warning him that any recurrence of unacceptable behaviour might lead him losing the gun licence.

In December 2008, a letter told Morelli that the force was only “marginally inclined” to renew his licence.

After being convicted of driving while using a mobile phone and using a vehicle without a test certificate in July 2011, the police decided they had “had enough”.

Sheriff Holligan said the evidence showed that despite repeated warnings, Morelli had continued to flout the law and demonstrated a poor attitude.

In October 2011, the assistant chief constable wrote to the businessman, stating: “Lothian and Borders Police treat public safety as paramount when assessing the continued suitability of the certificate holder.

“Having taken into account all relevant information concerning your previous convictions and the recent incident whereby you were charged with driving whilst using a mobile phone and using a motor vehicle without a test certificate, I am satisfied that your continued possession of a shotgun certificate constitutes a danger to public safety and to the peace.”

In his judgment rejecting Morelli’s appeal, Sheriff Holligan said: “The cumulative effect of repeated contraventions of road traffic legislation, (particularly where similar offences appear) coupled with the failure to heed repeated warnings as to such behaviour and its consequences, does justify a conclusion of irresponsibility relating to a motor vehicle and that there may be irresponsibility with a shotgun.”