A POLICEMAN has gone on trial accused of careless driving by crashing his squad car in Barrhead while on duty.

Robert Ferguson, 34, is said to have been speeding when his Peugeot 308 collided with a taxi in the town’s Main Street on January 18 last year.

He is charged with breaking the Road Traffic Act 1988 by driving “without due care and attention” and causing the crash.

PC Ferguson went on trial at Paisley Sheriff Court, which heard the collision took place at around 11pm as he was travelling with colleague Graeme Harrison, on their way back to Barrhead police station.

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Mohammed Azeem, the driver of the taxi involved in the incident, was the first witness to give evidence.

He told the court he had been sitting in a car park in Barrhead when he received a call to pick up a hire.

Mr Azeem, 32, said that, as he went to fetch the passenger, PC Ferguson’s car crashed into him.

“The car was on my right, turning right, going towards Bank Street,” said the witness. “He tried to stop but he got confused a bit and we were in the middle and we had an accident.

“It was a police car. Once we had had the accident, they quickly took the car away to the police station.

“It was a bit fast coming, it was coming fast, then it was in the middle and my car hit the police car.

“I was doing about 30 miles per hour.”

Mr Azeem said his cab was left with damage to the front bumper, grill and left light.

He added that PC Ferguson came over to speak to him after the crash and asked if he was okay.

Mr Azeem denied claims from defence solicitor Iain Cahill, representing PC Ferguson, that his lights had been out at the time of the crash.

He said: “The lights were working perfectly. The lights were on.”

PC Harrison also gave evidence, telling the court it was “a low-impact collision” which took place while they were going back to the station for “a comfort break.”

He said Mr Azeem’s car did not have its headlights or sidelights on.

PC Thomas Hastie also gave evidence, saying he was the first officer on the scene and had gone there on foot after receiving a call at Barrhead police station.

He said he did not know for sure whether or not the lights on Mr Azeem’s Skoda Octavia were working.

When asked about the fact Mr Azeem’s car wasn’t examined to establish whether or not the lights were working, he replied: “It would concern me, yes, that is an error.”

PC Hastie also agreed with Mr Cahill that such an oversight meant the police investigation into the crash was flawed.

He added: “It is concerning because that’s paramount to the actual evidence.”

The court also heard that the reporting officer, who collates all of the evidence and submits a report, hadn’t visited the scene and had, instead, overseen the investigation from his desk.

PC Ferguson maintains his innocence and the trial, before Sheriff Tom McCartney, was adjourned until April.