War victim, grieving dad caught driving four times the limit
A SRI Lankan war victim, who was so badly assaulted by soldiers he needed plastic surgery, saw his sister's leg blown off and also lost a child to a bath drowning, in an extraordinary tale of woe.
The tragic background of Jeyanthan Kulasegaram's life came to light after he pleaded guilty in Rockhampton Magistrates Court on Wednesday to one charge of high-range drink-driving after downing 10 beers in two hours.
Defence lawyer Rowan King, who represented Kulasegaram pro bono, said his client had been heavily involved in the civil war in Sri Lanka.
He was assaulted by army soldiers, which resulted in facial reconstructive surgery, before he relocated to Australia about 12 years ago at age 28, Mr King said.
His sister's leg was "blown off" by a land mine and about 18 months ago, while Kulasegaram was at work and his wife was at home caring for their three children, one of his children died in the bath tub.
Mr King said Kulasegaram then began drinking heavily, which led to his marriage breakdown.
"He has lost his job as a cleaner as a result of this charge.
"He concedes he needs to get off alcohol all together," Mr King said.
Police prosecutor Helen Lane said police intercepted Kulasegaram, 40, while he was driving at 11.53pm on October 20 on Goodsall St in Rockhampton with a male passenger.
Kulasegaram had a blood alcohol content of 0.235.
Mr King said that Kulasegaram's former wife was in court to provide her support his client.
Kulasegaram was disqualified from driving for 13 months and given an eight-month probation order.