How man's seat belt fine went from $400 to $2500
A COOLUM delivery driver nearly went to jail in Gympie yesterday, over his two-year campaign to avoid a routine traffic fine.
Lee Gordon Ravenscroft, 44, pleaded guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice by misleading police on various dates between April 30 and August 4 last year.
Judge Gary Long described Ravenscroft's offence as "particularly foolish" and "an affront to the administration of justice".
He fined Ravenscroft $2500, to be paid in three months, plus an eight month suspended jail sentence.
The sentence will hang over his head for two years, ready to be activated if he commits any offence punishable by jail in that time.
Then will come whatever punishment is handed down in Gympie District Court for the initial traffic matter, still to be dealt with.
That alleged offence was a comparatively trivial case of failing to fasten his seatbelt on November 7, 2016, punishable by a fine of less than $400, plus three demerit points.
Judge Long warned Ravenscroft he had come "perilously close" to actual imprisonment as a result of misleading Gympie police about the seatbelt matter.
He was fortunate his misleading behaviour was not directed to a court.
Ravenscroft had attempted to prove he was eligible for an exception from the seatbelt law because he was doing deliveries and driving at less than 25kmh.
He had presented police with "three video files which purported to contain images from a dash camera in your vehicle."
The video, however, was not continuous, did not always show the speedometer reading and had been edited "to present a false and misleading position."
"The falsity was not presented to the court, because of action taken by the police.
Revenscroft had helped deal with his offence "in a timely way" since being discovered.
"This type of offence is for good reason regarded by the courts as serious, with a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment.
"There is a recognised sense of affront to the administration of justice. "You were charged in the course of your employment as a delivery driver with an offence of not wearing a seatbelt," he said.