Driver's jail term reduced

NED GRAY, caught twice driving when disqualified, has been released from jail following his severity appeal before the Lismore District Court and receiving ‘the short sharp shock’ he had to have.

Gray, 24, a trainee carpenter from Goonellabah, had been jailed for driving while disqualified at 4.20pm on January 17 at Lennox Head.

He was also convicted of driving with a special range of alcohol in his system – being a disqualified driver with a blood/alcohol reading of 0.04.

When pulled over in his Ford Falcon by police officers operating an RBT stop, Gray told the police he drank four beers at Byron Bay on the beach.

At the time he was disqualified from driving until February 2012.

He had been also disqualified on a separate offence for reckless drivingfor which he received a three-year disqualification.

After his second conviction he was disqualified until 2014.

McLeans Ridges builder David Griffin gave evidence he needed Gray to be released early to enable him to continue employing the trainee carpenter.

“And you want him back?” queried Judge James Black.

“I do if I can,” replied Mr Griffin.

In evidence, Gray revealed he drove because his girlfriend phoned him saying she was ill.

The second time he was caught illegally driving at Lennox Head, Gray claimed he was returning from the Gold Coast where he drove to visit his ill sister who suffered a stroke.

Judge Black said it was quite obvious Gray needed ‘a short sharp shock’ with regard to his offending ways.

He dismissed Gray’s severity appeal on Friday and instead varied the penalties imposed in the lower court, where Gray had been jailed for nine months, with a non-parole period of three months, making him eligible for release on July 14.

Gray will now serve a non-parole period of one month and 20 days, which made him immediately eligible for release. He continues to be disqualified from driving until February 2014.



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