New years emergency leads to fine

“THIS story begins with the sound of a hard luck story,” Gympie Magistrate Maxine Baldwin said when she resumed court to deliver her verdict after a hearing into a drink driving and unlicensed driving matter.

Troy James Durham, 21, had fought the charges based on the argument there had been an extraordinary emergency for him to get behind the wheel at Teewah Beach.

Gympie Magistrates Court heard Durham had gone camping on the beach with friends for New Year’s Eve. His friend parked the four-wheel drive on a slope and they began drinking until the events, which led to the charges, unfolded at 1am.

Durham had been part of a group that had gone swimming and was on the beach when he became aware of the vehicle moving and heard its owner call out to stop the car. Durham jumped in, put his foot on the brake and reversed back to the top of the slope.

At this point, police turned up and breathalysed Durham, recording an illegal blood alcohol concentration at .07 per cent.

Mrs Baldwin said the issue was not if Durham drove but whether he had grounds for defence. She said defence raised facts arguing that circumstance of rolling was sufficient because there were children in the vicinity.

She found that an emergency existed at that point but the fact Durham reversed the car back up the hill into darkness made that argument null and void.

“A reasonable person with common sense would never reverse a car up a hill into darkness,” Mrs Baldwin said.

She found Durham, of Courtie Street, Bellmere, guilty on both charges and disqualified his licence for 25 months and fined him a total of $1200.

Gympie Times

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