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Licence lost 15 years after being caught drink driving

FIFTEEN years after a drink-driving charge following farewell drinks with Hog's Breath workmates, Douglas Harry went before Gladstone Magistrates Court.

Harry, 61, pleaded guilty to the historic offence of drink-driving at Airlie Beach in September 2000 with a reading of 0.119.

He pleaded for some leniency and asked not to lose his licence for work as he had not reoffended.

"For 15 years I've shown I've been a responsible driver," he said.

"I've demonstrated since that I don't drink and drive."

"Unfortunately I will lose my job and end up on welfare. At my age that's scary."

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Harry recalled how on the night of the offence he had farewell drinks with work-mates.

He was taking a taxi home, but moved and parked his car around the corner in what was a safer place overnight, but as he got out of the car a policewoman booked him.

Harry said he went to court, but it was busy that day and his case adjourned to another court. After moving to Adelaide for his new job he lost track of the matter.

Harry now lives back in Tannum Sands, but still holds interstate driver's licences including heavy-vehicles and told the court he would likely lose his job if disqualified from driving.

Magistrate Penelope Hay showed some empathy toward his plight, explaining that under Queensland legislation magistrates had no discretion and must impose a licence disqualification of a minimum three months.

"If I had that discretion I could take that into account (his lack of offences since) but the parliament has removed this discretion," she said.

"You can complain to the politicians about it."

Harry was also informed that because he held an interstate licence he could not apply in Queensland for a special work licence.

Although very sympathetic, Ms Hay said if he had transferred his licence to Queensland it was likely he would have qualified for a special work licence.

She acknowledged he had no offences since 2000 and although she would convict him of the drink-driving offence he would not be fined.

Harry was disqualified for the minimum three months.

Outside court Harry said while the licence loss seemed unfair, the magistrate had been "very fair" as legislation had removed any discretionary powers.

Topics:  crime drink driving editors picks gladstone magistrates court



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