Drunk driver, 26, slammed by judge

A MAGISTRATE has given a drink driver with a high reading a suspended prison sentence, and slammed his driving record as “abominable”.

Douglas Joseph Laing, 26, pleaded guilty to driving under the influence, driving without a license and driving an unregistered vehicle.

The defendant, who has never had a drivers licence, returned a blood alcohol concentration of 0.247.

Police Prosecutor Constable Sean Franklin told the court police pulled over the defendant after he was seen driving erratically, speeding up and slowing down on the Dawson Highway at 7pm on March 12.

Const Franklin said the defendant exited the vehicle and made his way to the footpath.

“He was quite unsteady on his feet and there was a very strong smell of alcohol,” Const Franklin said.

“He was argumentative and unco-operative with police.”

Inquiries by officers found the defendant did not have a drivers license and had never held one.

The check also revealed the plates on the Hyundai Excel driven by the defendant belonged to a Toyota Hilux.

“The fines for these offences will pale into insignificance against the other offences,” Const Franklin said.

The prosecution said the defendant had been treated with the “utmost indulgence” for four unlicensed convictions he had received in the past five years, as fines were the only penalties imposed.

“A prison sentence of three months, wholly suspended, is appropriate in the circumstances,” Const Franklin said.

“Nothing else has affected his driving behaviour.’

Michael Café and Associates defence solicitor Michael Café told the court his client had sought medical assistance for his drinking problem he now admitted to.

“For him, one’s too many, and 25’s not enough,” Mr Café said.

Mr Café said he could not disagree with the penalties in the circumstances.

Magistrate Damian Carroll left the man in no doubt about the consequences if he gets behind the wheel intoxicated again.

“One more and he’ll (the defendant) be in jail,” Mr Carroll said.

“You’re showing contempt for the vehicle licensing laws in this state.”

Mr Carroll sentenced the defendant to two months in prison, wholly suspended, imposed a fine of $1000 and a disqualification period of two years and six months for all offences.



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