News

Drunk and drunker

A MAN caught drink driving two times in 10 hours fronted Gympie Magistrates Court on Monday and found the silver lining to his predicament.

Norman Denis Furlong, 42, of Narangba, pleaded guilty to two counts of drink driving and a single count of driving on a suspended licence.

The court heard on December 20, at 9.12am, police stopped Furlong on the Bruce Hwy at Takilberan and he returned an alcohol reading of .068.

He was charged with drink driving and his licence suspended for 24 hours while arrangements were made for his car to be towed.

Less than 10 hours later, at 6.23pm, police communications received a call from a member of the public concerned about a driver heading south on the Bruce Hwy, near Gympie, who was driving erratically.

That driver was Furlong who again was stopped by police and when breath tested, returned a reading of .265 - more than five times the legal limit.

Police checks revealed he had earlier been charged with drink driving and was driving on a suspended licence.

The charges were transferred to Gympie Magistrates Court for hearing and Furlong's lawyer described his client's circumstances as "unusual".

The lawyer said it was unusual for a mature man to be before the court on serious matters and the seriousness was not lost on his client.

While younger repeat offenders became accustomed to attending court on a regular basis, Furlong had no previous exposure to the courts and had been suffering anxiety, the lawyer said.

Furlong had lost weight from the stress and anxiety, worrying about the court's attitude to his offending.

The lawyer said his client was taking an alcohol inhibitor drug to manage his drinking and had reached out on his own accord to seek professional help.

Furlong's behaviour was described as "out of character" and he was remorseful and determined to seize the opportunity as "a turning point in life".

Magistrate Baldwin told Furlong he had to manage his alcoholism, describing it as a disease.

"It's a difficult issue and I have to be cruel to be kind," she said.

Magistrate Baldwin said balancing punishment was difficult given Furlong's work situation as a fly-in fly-out worker in the mines.

She said it "was with some trepidation" Furlong avoided probation as she disqualified him from driving for two years and two months.

Furlong was fined $2780, referred to SPER, and convictions were recorded.

He left the court promising Magistrate Baldwin he was glad he had been caught by police and would use his experience to turn his life around.

Gympie Times

Topics:  court, crime, dui




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