52yo caught at 84kmh in 50kmh zone

IT WAS a foggy night when Kathleen Wishart sped though Clunes at 84km/h in a 50km/h speed zone.

She did not see Clunes in the fog, nor did she see the speed camera until it flashed, catching her small Ford hatchback like a sprinting rabbit in the glare of a spotlight.

Wishart, 52, of Sanctuary Village near Lennox Head, was in the Ballina Local Court on Thursday to appeal an RTA decision to suspend her driver's licence for three months after she racked up too many points for speeding offences.

In her appeal before Magistrate Kim Pogson, the disability pensioner, aided by her metal walking crutch, pleaded for some leniency saying it was so foggy she had failed to see the village of Clunes or its fixed speed camera.

“I don't accept madam that it was that foggy,” replied a disbelieving Mr Pogson, who then read out to Wishart her long list of previous speeding offences dating back some years.

“You were given a chance in 2009 and you have blown it,” the magistrate said.

“You have a shocking speedingrecord. I know it will be an inconvenience to you, but it would not be right to grant your appeal on yourrecord. It is not a good record.”

“I beg forgiveness,” Wishart said.

She then asked for a reduction in the suspension, with Mr Pogson replying he did not have the legal discretion to reduce the RTA disqualification.

Mr Pogson then dismissed her appeal, after pointedly referring to her list of speeding offences that have now cost Wishart thousands of dollars in fines.

Wishart's appeal was at times emotional, saying she had no criminal record in her life and because she had mobility issues and lived 3.5kms from the nearest shops and needed her driver's licence.

“If I lose my licence I face the prospect of being locked up all day in my house,” she said.

“I have many health problems and suffer from a post traumatic stress disorder.”

Mr Pogson said her 12-week suspension was immediate.

Wishart, in an appeal letter to the court, stated: “It was a very foggy night and I didn't realise where the speed camera was as the visibility was really bad. I couldn't see because of the fog. I didn't do it on purpose. I now endeavour to watch very carefully all road conditions and speed zones, especially on foggy nights.”

Minutes later Wishart was back in court, accompanied by lawyer Amy Barker, who applied to have the immediate driving suspension put off until the next day to allow Wishart time to drive home.

Mr Pogson, although sympathetic to her client's plight, told Ms Barker he could not do that because he had made the court order and could not change it.

“I just need to drive home,” said an upset Wishart before leaving the courtroom.

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