IN THE BALANCE: A serial disqualified driver has been given one more last chance with intense supervision in the community instead of jail.
IN THE BALANCE: A serial disqualified driver has been given one more last chance with intense supervision in the community instead of jail. Brett Wortman

Malady lingers on for driver whose past caught up with him

"YOUR client's in a bit of trouble," Gympie magistrate Chris Callaghan remarked in the case of a man facing the consequences of a string of unlicensed driving offences back to 2008.

"I should say I am considering imprisonment," Mr Callaghan said.

Michael Tristan Watts, 39, of Kybong, pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified by a court order on January 7.

The court was told Watts had been fined $1000 and disqualified from driving for 10 months in September 2008, fined $900 and disqualified for two years about five months later, given suspended jail and disqualified for another two years after that and then given more jail, suspended for two years, and a 30-month disqualification.

In August 2012, he had been given four months' jail with immediate parole and disqualified for 27 months for disqualified driving while under the influence of liquor, at a blood alcohol level of 0.217 per cent.

In August 2015, he was disqualified for five years for disqualified driving while under the influence, at 0.166 per cent.

He had been given six months' jail, suspended after two months, and faced accumulated disqualifications which by then added up to keeping him off the road until 2022.

Watts' lawyer told the court the spell in jail had led to Watts becoming "one of those rare individuals in our community who has turned his life around".

"He's an employer and people depend on him," the lawyer said.

But Mr Callaghan said Watts' life had not turned around so much that he had not decided to "take a chance breaking a court order".

"If you had been under the influence at the time, you would have been going to prison today," Mr Callaghan said.

He sentenced Watts to six months' jail, to be served in the community under intensive supervision with unpaid community service. He disqualified Watts for four years.

Gympie Times


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