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Truckie did Ice-driving to deal with 140 hour week

Truck driver Darrin John Magnussen, 42, has faced Mackay Supreme Court pleading guilty to two counts of driving under the influence of methamphetamines (ice), possessing ice and possessing an ice pipe.
Truck driver Darrin John Magnussen, 42, has faced Mackay Supreme Court pleading guilty to two counts of driving under the influence of methamphetamines (ice), possessing ice and possessing an ice pipe. Facebook

A TRUCKIE caught behind the wheel of a B-double high on ice twice planned to use his considerable stash to cover dozens of upcoming work trips.

Darrin John Magnussen's defence team told a court relentless weeks on the road, stretching up to 140 hours, drove the 42-year-old to take the drug to stay awake.

Barrister Bronwyn Hartigan said Magnussen experienced constant pressure to cover more kilometres while working for multiple employers over a number of years.

However, Mackay Supreme Court Justice James Henry refused to place blame on the trucking industry, despite conceding the presence of some "rogue operators".

Magnussen fronted the court on Monday, pleading guilty to driving under the influence of methamphetamines at Carmila on March 8 last year and at Wacol in Brisbane on April 8 this year.

He also pleaded guilty to possessing about 20g of ice (14g of which was pure) on March 8, 2016 at Carmila and possessing an ice pipe on the same day.

Crown prosecutor Dane Marley said Magnussen's criminal and traffic history included possessing an unlicenced shotgun, multiple logbook offences and supplying ice.

Justice Henry described Magnussen's traffic history as "appalling", but said it was fairly common to see truck drivers with similar histories before the courts.

Mr Marley said on March 8 police caught up with Magnussen at a Carmila service station after another truckie reported he had swerved across the road.

This, according to Ms Hartigan, was because Magnussen was dodging a piece of steel on the roadway.

Nevertheless, Magnussen was drug tested, received a positive result and his truck was searched.

" ... in which police discovered two clipseal bags containing methamphetamines," Mr Marley said.

"The defendant told police the items belonged to him and he paid $5000 for the methamphetamines in Brisbane a few days prior.

"He said the methamphetamines were for his own personal use and he would use the scales (also found) to measure five points for his commute.

"On the defendant's own admitted use of the drug ... he had enough substance to last him the next 42 trips which he embarked on."

Mr Marley said Magnussen again tested positive for ice about a year later while behind the wheel of a truck.

Justice Henry noted during sentencing that while ice use can keep a person awake, it can also promote paranoia and aggression.

He put an increase in road rage in the general community in recent times down to a rise in ice use.

Meanwhile, Ms Hartigan, instructed by Morton Lawyers, described Magnussen as a married dad who'd been driving trucks since he was 18.

She said Magnussen, who was supported in court by his wife, had moved from Cardwell to Ingham for local work, rather than interstate driving, and had taken a front end loader job.

"He says over the course of his (previous) employment he has used methamphetamines as a tool to stay awake," Ms Hartigan said.

"He says that he felt the pressure to drive longer hours during the course of his employment for a variety of employers.

"Sometimes he would drive 100 to 140 hours per week. He says that urgency is often an issue in the transport industry ... it's common to feel that pressure to drive extra hours."

Ms Hartigan said Magnussen was remorseful and stopped interstate driving to halt the constant pressure and quit ice.

The barrister added Magnussen made admissions to police at the scene, that he was on a trial separation from his wife at the time and drug testing dated Friday showed he was clean.

Justice Henry said Magnussen had a good background, work history, family support and was rehabilitating, but described his behaviour as "deplorable".

He dismissed suggestions there was blame to place on the industry or Magnussen's employers and said individual truckies need to know similar conduct will be punished.

" ... it cannot be that it's impossible to drive professionally without methamphetamines," he said.

Magnussen was sentenced to two years jail, but was granted immediate parole.

He was also disqualified from driving for six months, fined $1700 and convictions were recorded.

Topics:  carmila driving under the influence drug driving editors picks mackay court mackay crime mackay supreme court methamphetamines police queensland police service truck driver truckie



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