Tweed court traffic jam -- 61 charges for driving offences

By MADELEINE DOHERTY

A RELIEVING magistrate was stuck in a traffic jam of Tweed driving offenders yesterday as more than half the 100 charges heard in Local Court a direct result of our disgraceful road record.

There were 69 people facing charges yesterday and out of the 100 charges, 61 were driving offences.

Yesterday's line-up of offenders ranged from driving without a licence to speeding, driving while disqualified and drink driving.

Most offenders had their matters adjourned seeking legal representation as some are likely to face jail sentences while others opted for the Traffic Offenders Program hoping to win brownie points before facing court at a later date for sentencing.

Ross Allan Morton, 38, of Hall Court, Mudgeeraba, was first up yesterday pleading guilty to a mid-range PCA.

"I thought I was fine," Morton said adding that he'd only had a couple of drinks between 1pm and 11pm but the next morning he blew 0.105.

With three prior drink-drive charges more than seven years ago Morton had already done weekend detention for his previous offences.

Relieving Magistrate Annette Sinclair accepted that this latest offence was a "blip", fined him $1200 and disqualified him from driving for 12 months, warning him that if he did it again he would be in jail.

Next to face the court was Robert Bernard Gabriel, a mechanic, of Dry Dock Road, Tweed Heads South, pleaded guilty to a low-range PCA.

Gabriel, who works in Murwillumbah and drives his three children to school in Murwillumbah, had no prior drink driving charges and pleaded with the court as his family's sole bread winner, to be allowed to keep his licence.

It was one beer and one vodka 100 metres from his home that brought Gabriel undone leaving him with a conviction, a $300 fine, court costs of $70 and a disqualification period of three months. Gabriel is appealing the severity of the sentencing.

Susan Dixon, 51 of Musgrave Street, Kirra also pleaded guilty to low range PCA on August 9.

After a glass of champagne and a couple of cocktails at the Ivory Hotel in Tweed Heads, Dixon, thinking she was okay to drive, was pulled over for a random breath test.

She was convicted, fined $300 plus court costs of $70 and disqualified from driving for three months. Dixon left in tears.



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