‘Atrocious’: Judge rips into Kate Richie’s husband
Home And Away star Kate Richie's husband Stuart Webb is "lucky he hasn't been sent to jail" given his "appalling" driving record, a judge said.
His actor wife was not in attendance but despite an AVO being in place, the court was told she had written a letter of support for her husband.
Mr Webb, dressed in a black suit and blue checked tie, fronted Waverley Local Court, in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs, on Thursday after being charged with driving without a licence in March last year.
Mr Webb, a former NRL player with the Sydney Roosters, pleaded guilty to a charge of driving while licence cancelled.
At times the 39-year-old appeared to nervously tap his feet as the judge ripped into his "atrocious" record on the road.
The former rugby league player was pulled over in his Subaru Levorg on March 26, 2019, in Randwick. He had run a red light, the police said in court documents, and was also found to be driving with a suspended licence due to an earlier low range drink driving offence.
When the officers pulled him over, he smelt of alcohol and his eyes were "glazed and bloodshot", police stated in court documents.
Mr Webb was taken to Waverley Police Station, near Bondi Junction, where a reading returned a result of 0.083.
According to the police fact sheet Mr Webb claimed he had two schooners of Tooheys New beer at the Royal Hotel Randwick before getting in his car to drive home.
At a court date last year, he was suspended for six months for the offence of mid-range drink driving - which expired in September - and an interlock device was fitted to his car for 24 months.
Mr Webb had told officers he did not know his licence was suspended which led to his court appearance today.
The charge could have led to six months in jail, a six-month disqualification and a $3000 fine.
Mr Webb's legal counsel said that at the time he was under the impression he had completed a period of disqualification. He had visited one of the state government's Service NSW centres to inquire about his licence and thought he was now free to drive.
However, the court was told Service NSW didn't have any records to say Mr Webb had successfully reapplied for his licence and he was still cancelled.
The extent of Mr Webb's driving history was brought up by the exasperated judge.
"His licence history is that he has PCAs (prescribed concentration of alcohol) in 2004, 2012, 2018, 2019 and he was unlicensed in 2017.
"He's lucky he hasn't been sent to jail - it's an appalling record," the judge said.
The court was told Ritchie had sent a letter of support for her husband stressing his duties in bringing up their daughter, which the judge said he had taken into account.
"There is no excuse for driving while cancelled - ignorance of the law is no excuse," the judge said.
Mr Webb was put on a conditional release order for a period of two years and will be allowed to continue to drive.
"Mr Webb, your record is absolutely atrocious. You have five drink driving offences on your record, it's absolutely disgraceful," the judge said.
"Your driving needs to improve dramatically and drastically."
In November, he agreed to an apprehended violence order (AVO) that prevented him from assaulting, threatening, stalking or harassing his wife.
Mr Webb also agreed not to approach or be in the company of Ritchie "for at least 12 hours after drinking alcohol or taking illicit drugs".
A police constable originally applied for the AVO on Ritchie's behalf on October 21 after an incident at the couple's eastern Sydney home on October 17.