Ambulance driver who faced prosecution calls for legal protections for emergency workers
An ambulance driver who faced prosecution because she ran a red light at 10mph as she responded to a 999 call in Aberdeen is calling for emergency service crews to be given stronger protections.
Kristine Hutchison was handed a significant legal bill after the case against her went to court.
The careless driving charges were dropped 45 minutes before Ms Hutchison was to stand trial.
However, she still had to pay £780 for the costs of preparing her defence.
She is now calling for additional support to be given to emergency services drivers who risk prosecution while performing their jobs.
Ms Hutchison said: “I knew from the very beginning that I would have to get my own solicitor, because they told me that it was up to me, I was on my own.
“I’m trying to get things to change so that this doesn’t happen to anybody else in the future. The support on offer is just counselling, which isn’t enough. That’s what I’m in the process of trying to change.”
Ms Hutchison had been on her way to an emergency when she ran the red light at under 10mph and hit an oncoming vehicle which had failed to pull over.
She said: “I was shocked that the legal representation wasn’t handled by the NHS.
“I was under the impression that when you wore the uniform and drove the ambulance you did so under the responsibility of the Scottish Ambulance Service.”
She added she was only offered counselling.
Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald (pictured) has written to the lord advocate Frank Mulholland on Ms Hutchison’s behalf to raise concerns about the problems facing emergency service workers.
Mr Macdonald said: “Her employer didn’t give her any legal advice or financial support to meet her costs, and that’s extraordinary. I would expect the police, fire and ambulance services to get behind their staff when their staff are doing their jobs.
“She was only in that position because she was in a job, working for them, to the best of her ability. Their staff should not be left our of pocket, or facing unnecessary legal pressure.”