Noosa: Tourist hub drenched in drunks and bad drivers
NOOSA's Magistrates Court is drenched with drunks and their driving behaviour has outraged a local magistrate.
At this week's regular Tuesday session, Magistrate John Hodgins told the court he was "appalled" at the number of drink-driving charges and the "extraordinary" high readings coming through the court.
His comments were prompted after two women pleaded guilty to high-range drink-driving charges.
Magistrate Hodgins said week after week, people of both genders, all ages and social groups roll up to the court charged with a range of driving while under the influence of drink or drugs offences. Many are first-timers and many others come with a long history, making Noosa's roads unsafe.
Noosa Police Prosecutor Sergeant Melissa Campbell told the court Monika Miethke's long history of driving offences along with resulting fines and disqualification had failed to curb her dangerous habits.
Miethke, represented by solicitor Bruce Johnston, pleaded guilty to a charge of drink-driving in Pomona with a blood-alcohol reading of 0.293.
However, Mr Johnston's objection to Sgt Campbell's call for stronger penalties was dismissed by the magistrate.
Mr Johnston said that in his 18 years practicing law, alcohol dependency was the underpinning factor in many charges.
He said many people with alcohol dependencies were otherwise good people.
Magistrate Hodgins told Miethke: "We all have burdens. Your burden is alcohol."
He sentenced her to two years' probation and disqualified her from holding a licence for 18 months.
Sally Katrina Clark pleaded guilty to a high-range drink-driving charge in Eumundi.
Sgt Campbell told the court Clark was a danger to herself and the community.
Witnesses told police Clark had driven into the Eumundi Markets carpark on a non-trading day, damaging metal signs on the way,
becoming bogged with a flat tyre, then lying down in the mud. Police later located Clark at her home, but she fled on foot. The next day she told police she didn't recall what had happened.
Magistrate Hodgins described Clark's drink-driving offences as "disgraceful" and noted she had a history of coming before the court with very high level readings.
Clark was sentenced to nine months' imprisonment, with an immediate parole release date. She was disqualified from driving for two years.