Crack down on drink-drivers
NEW magistrate Michael Dakin has had enough of drink-driving on the Tweed, and yesterday promised to start handing out tough sentences to rein in the region’s appalling record.
A day after a Casuarina mother had her two young children taken from her after she drove more than six times over the limit with them in the car, 33 people appeared in the Tweed Heads Local Court for drink-driving.
After dealing with only a few of the 12 high-range drink-drivers in court yesterday, Mr Dakin declared the crackdown.
“This is yet another high-range (drink-driver) in Tweed Heads Local Court,” Mr Dakin said, as Paul John Worth sat waiting for his sentence.
“It is extraordinary, and one way or another it is going to stop.”
Mr Dakin said he would take a tough stance on drink-driving from now on, and with his vow now public, anyone caught on the Tweed in the future should not expect leniency.
The magistrate went on to send 22-year-old Guy David Nicholson to prison for leading police on a cross-border pursuit that ended in a crash, while he was more than five times the legal blood-alcohol limit.
A blood test confirmed Nicholson had a .256 per cent blood alcohol concentration after he initially recorded .337 in a roadside breath test.
Nicholson will spend at least eight months of his year-long sentence for dangerous driving behind bars. He was also disqualified from holding a licence for five years.
The 38-year-old woman charged on Sunday morning had a reading of .325 per cent.
She had been driving with her two children, aged eight and six.
Tweed Heads Police Sergeant Mark Garner said police notified the Department of Community Services (DoCS) following the woman’s arrest.
“DoCS workers have taken the children from the care of the mother, with the view of taking the mother into alcohol rehabilitation,” Sgt Garner said.
“They are awaiting the father to return from overseas.”
A DoCS spokesperson yesterday said a report had been received about a mother caught high-range drink-driving with two children in the car.
Sgt Garner said the mother was acting negligently.
“The risk that the mother put those kids through is terrible,” he said.
“It’s one of the worst readings I’ve seen in the 23 years I’ve been with police.”
The arrest further cements the Tweed Byron’s reputation as New South Wales’ worst area for drink-driving, Sgt Garner said.
“Everyone knows we’re the worst in the state.”
Sgt Garner said the woman was stopped by police in a Lexus four-wheel-drive for a random breath test about 11.10am in Sutherland Street, Kingscliff.
She was taken to Kingscliff Police Station where she recorded a reading of .325 and was charged with high-range drink-driving.
The woman will appear in Tweed Heads Local Court on January 25.
Grant David Robinson, 42, of Tweed Heads West, who has never held a licence, pleaded guilty to high-range drink-driving while at the wheel of an unregistered, uninsured vehicle. He was disqualified from driving for three years and ordered to do 250 hours of community service, 20 hours of personal development and pay $1276 in fines. It was his sixth drink-driving offence.
Paul John Worth, 42, received the same community service hours as Robinson for his high-range drink-driving (.190 per cent). For having two unrestrained passengers in the car at the time of the offence he was fined a total of $826. Worth had two similar drink-driving offences on his record.
Rhiannon Paula Griffin blew .150 per cent (high-range) and was fined $826 and handed a 15 month disqualification from driving. It was her first drink-driving offence.