A POLICE officer has admitted making a mistake while investigating a road accident involving a colleague who is accused of careless driving by crashing his squad car while on duty.

Constable Jason Curtis held his hands up to a blunder as he gave evidence at the trial of PC Robert Ferguson at Paisley Sheriff Court last week.

PC Ferguson, 35, is said to have been speeding before he crashed into a taxi in Barrhead on January 18 last year.

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He is accused of driving “without due care and attention.”

PC Ferguson and PC Graeme Harrison were heading back to Barrhead police station at around 11pm on the night in question.

Mohammed Azeem, the driver of the taxi that collided with the Police Scotland Peugeot being driven by PC Ferguson, was the first witness in the case and gave evidence back in January.

The 32-year-old told the court he had been sitting in a Barrhead car park when he received a call to collect a customer for another area of the town.

Mr Azeem said that, as he went to collect the passenger, PC Ferguson crashed into him at about 30mph, causing damage to the front bumper, grill and light.

Giving evidence last week, PC Curtis told the court he has been a police officer for nine years.

Describing how he went to the scene of the collision, the 37-year-old witness said: “I spoke to PC Ferguson. He was coming towards us and the first thing he said was ‘the taxi driver didn’t have his lights on.’

PC Curtis was then asked by defence solicitor Iain Cahill, representing PC Ferguson: “Do you know it can be a criminal offence to drive at night with no lights on?”

The officer replied: “Yes.”

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When asked what he should normally do when given that information, he replied: “There probably should’ve been a full inquiry carried out.

“He [Mr Azeem] would need to have been cautioned under Section 1 [of the Road Traffic Act 1988] as an accused [person] and interviewed.”

PC Curtis then conceded that those procedures were not carried out.

He added: “I didn’t think anything further was going to happen with this [collision].

“Normally, when we go to something like this, the two parties exchange details and it’s settled through insurance because there’s no injuries.

“I took a statement thinking it might inform any inquiry. From my point of view, it was right to include it in the statement whether or not he had his lights on at the time.”

PC Ferguson, who has eight years police service, also gave evidence about the crash.

He said Mr Azeem’s car came towards him with no lights on as he turned a corner, that he “pressed the brakes” and the crash took place “almost instantly.”

At the end of the evidence, Sheriff Tom McCartney adjourned the trial for closing speeches and a verdict to be given on another day.

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