Drink-driver sent back to jail

A MAN was judged too dangerous to remain in the community after being convicted in Tweed Heads Local Court on Monday of his 14th disqualified driving charge.

Steven William Newman knew a driving offence would see him sent straight to jail, but he was caught drink-driving on Wharf Street, Tweed Heads at 2am on September 13.

At the time he was disqualified from driving until 2016 and had only recently been released from Grafton jail for a driving offence.

In court, Magistrate Michael Dakin said the 48-year-old had an unenviable record and was “too dangerous to the community for a community-based sentence”.

“I can’t see any other option than a custodial sentence,” he said.

Mr Dakin increased Newman’s licence disqualification to 2019 and sent him to prison until at least August 2010.

In Newman’s defence, the court heard he had voluntarily admitted himself to a rehabilitation centre for his alcohol dependence, and had only left the centre for a total of two weeks since the offence.

But according to Mr Dakin, it was too late, as it was obvious Newman’s alcohol dependence was an outstanding problem that had contributed to his offences in the past.

The Banora Point man had pleaded guilty to mid-range drink-driving and disqualified driving.

According to police facts presented to the court, officers pulled Newman over on Wharf Street after observing his car turn from Bay Street.

He failed a breath test and was taken to Tweed Heads Police Station for breath analysis, where he blew .085 per cent blood alcohol concentration.

Newman said he had consumed six to eight schooners of full-strength beer at Twin Towns Services Club between 10.30pm and 1.45am.

According to police, Newman was “extremely upset” about being caught, and made threats to his own life.

“I got told the last time at court that if I got done again then I’d be going to jail for two years; I’m not going back to jail,” he told the officers.

For mid-range drink-driving, Newman was given a six-month prison sentence, with parole available on May 22 next year and was disqualified from driving for one year.

His sentence for disqualified driving was even tougher, with a non- parole period of nine months on a one-year prison sentence and an additional two-year licence disqualification, taking it to the year 2019.

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