TRAGIC family problems are no excuse to endanger the public and fight with police, a Murwillumbah man has been told at Tweed Heads Local Court.
Allan Whittaker tried to drive to Murwillumbah from Tweed Heads at 1.25am on January 11 in a state police described as “severely intoxicated”. He also fought with officers when he was stopped at a roadside breath test on the Kennedy Drive Pacific Highway entry ramp.
The 50-year-old pleaded guilty at court on Monday to driving under the influence and resisting arrest.
His solicitor, Russell Baxter, submitted a large number of personal references and said Whittaker was the “rock” of his family, which had been shaken by health problems.
He told the court Whittaker had a disabled daughter and seriously ill wife, while his father had suffered six strokes, his mother endured a major heart operation, his sister a mental breakdown and his brother-in-law had died recently.
According to police facts, two bursts of capsicum spray had little impact on Whittaker when he refused to be handcuffed.
The 10-minute struggle for the arrest required “serious effort” and caused Whittaker to be hospitalised with a facial injury.The man had a blood alcohol concentration of .155 per cent when he returned to the Tweed Heads Police Station at 4am the same morning.
Magistrate Nick Reimer said the facts of the case were “horrific” and while other people have personal hardships, not everyone acted the same way and put the public in danger. “As far as I am concerned, it is just not on,” Mr Reimer said.
Whittaker was fined $1500, disqualified from driving for 12 months, put on an 18-month good behaviour bond, plus fined $146 in court costs.