Lady Justice
Lady Justice File

Drink driver 'lucky' to be caught: Magistrate

GYMPIE magistrate M Baldwin told a drink driver he was fortunate to be caught by police rather than having killed someone in a crash.

And she expressed regret at the difficulties caused when people in country areas lose their drivers licence.

"I don't like taking your licence off you,” she said.

"I know how difficult it is in country areas where we don't have many trains and buses.

"I'd rather sentence you to sit in the coroner's court,” where she said fatal crashes were analysed "nanosecond by nanosecond.”

She said many people could drive at surprisingly high blood alcohol levels, but they could not do so safely.

"Most people think they're fine to drive and mostly they are,” she said.

But she told James Oliver McBean, 27, of Lower Wonga, drink drivers could not cope with unexpected or emergency situations.

"The highest reading I've seen was 0.4%, eight times the legal limit, and that person wasn't pulled up for anything to do with their driving.”

But the problem was interacting with other road users and dealing with sudden situations.

McBean pleaded guilty to driving on the Wide Bay Hwy at Woolooga on July 4 with a reading of 0.094%.

She fined McBean $500 and allowed him a work licence during a six-month disqualification, telling him he was lucky to have been convicted of drink driving rather than having a crash and hurting someone.

"Dangerous driving causing death is five years jail,” she said.

Also before the court on a separate matter, Gympie man Barry Edward McFarlane, 52, was fined $440 and disqualified for two months for driving in River Rd on June 25 with an alcohol reading of 0.075%.

Matthew John Stolberg, 27, of Monkland, was fined $440 and disqualified for two months for driving in Brisbane Rd on June 18 with a reading of 0.066%.

Less than one drink over the limit, the reading prompted Mrs Baldwin to ask: "What have you got to say? Bad guess?”

Gympie Times


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