OFF THE ROAD: Mark Russell outside Bundaberg Magistrates Court.
OFF THE ROAD: Mark Russell outside Bundaberg Magistrates Court.

'Lawyer' gives watch-house lousy review after drunken crash

"THERE is a reason. I woke up on the floor, I'd collapsed and was in incredible pain, absolutely delirious as I had smashed my shoulder," Mark Russell told a Bundaberg magistrate on why he drove despite being drunk and disqualified ten days earlier - for drink driving.

The court was told Russell had hated his night in a police cell, saying it was terrible, with "not even a toilet seat to sit on".

Russell, 57, said he was a lawyer and had been driving to Bundaberg Hospital in his Toyota Land Cruiser when he crashed on Moore Park Beach Rd on Monday, June 19.

Russell was nearly four times the legal alcohol limit.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Grant Klaassen told Bundaberg Magistrates Court police went to the Welcome Creek crash scene about 6.30pm and found the crashed white Toyota 4WD laying on its side.

Russell returned an alcohol reading of 0.191. He told police he had been drinking wine.


Checks revealed Russell had been disqualified on June 9 from driving for six months after drink driving with an alcohol reading of 0.201.

Russell pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of liquor on June 19; and driving unlicensed when disqualified by a court order.

In his defence Russell told Magistrate Belinda Merrin that in terrible pain, he went to call an ambulance but drove after realising it would take too long to get to Moore Park Beach.

"You are at risk of going to jail - you need legal representation," Ms Merrin warned.

"I am a lawyer, Your Honour," he said.

"I was in so much pain I had to get to hospital so I drove.

"It went over the road, over to its side.

"I was driving with one arm."

Russell said he graduated from Melbourne University and last practiced law 10 years ago: "I did industrial law not criminal."

"I was taken to the police station and put in a prison cell," Russell said.

"I came to the realisation you'd sent me a message. It was very unpleasant.

"It was a lesson of a lifetime and I've never smoked or drank again. I've sold the car."

Russell said he could afford to pay a fine because he had worked for a trade union and had superannuation.

"You were very intoxicated Mr Russell, that's what happened," Ms Merrin said.

"Obviously the level of intoxication affected your judgement."

"I tried to kill the pain with alcohol, that's how much pain I was in. I've never collapsed before," Russell said.

"I panicked. I didn't know if it was a heart attack or what.

"I just wanted to get to hospital. Oh my God, so much pain, (it) took my breath away; knocked the stuffing straight out of me.

"But you've cured me, no doubt. I sure like to drink and smoke but to be honest with you I hated (the watch-house cell), not even a toilet seat to sit on, not even a blanket - terrible.

"It's an experience I won't forget. I make a promise it will never happen again."

Russell said he was diagnosed with frozen shoulder and had been treated with cortisone.

Ms Merrin was critical of his driving in defiance of a court order just 10 days after it was imposed

She said it had been his "incomprehensible decision" to take a risk and drive one-handed when intoxicated.

"I didn't hurt anyone, Your Honour," Russell said.

Ms Merrin said he needed to have insight into what he did, the danger and serious risk he posed to other road users.

Russell was fined $2250 and disqualified for another two years.

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