Drink-driver, 54, makes it No. 10
“NO need for me to blow into that, I'm over,” driver Bruce Michael readily told a Highway Patrol police officer who had stopped his bright maroon Ford for an RBT at Goon-ellabah.
Not that he was proudly keeping a points tally, but it was to be Michael's 10th conviction for drink-driving.
Michael, 54, of East Lismore, was jailed for 12 months by Magistrate Robyn Denes after pleading guilty in the Lismore Local Court on Monday to mid-range drink-driving (0.120) in Rous Road at 6.35pm on Sunday, July 18.
Michael also pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified and it was revealed he had not held a licence for 25 years.
Ms Denes then ordered Michael to serve three months of the sentence before being released on supervised parole.
The magistrate disqualified him from driving for a further three years – until March 2024.
Police facts stated that after immediately telling police he was over the legal blood/alcohol limit for driving, Michael admitted he had not held a driver's licence since 1987, saying ‘no I haven't had one for 25 years'.
A police check with the RTA revealed his licence had expired back in November 1987, and at the time of his latest offence Michael had been disqualified from July 2016 until March 2021.
His defence lawyer, Mark Harlen, submitted the court should take into account time already served in custody and impose a suspended sentence with appropriate counselling for his client's alcohol issues.
The lawyer acknowledged Michael had a long record of driving offences and alcohol issues, but had now sold his car and promised never to drive again.
The magistrate replied she was sure Michael had made such a promise to the court before, and pointed out it was his not only his 10th DUI offence, but his seventh for driving while disqualified.
Mr Harlen said Michael had declining health and was deeply remorseful for what he had done. He said Michael was also in protective custody after receiving many threats as he was ‘a target of a group of men in jail'.
The lawyer said at the time of the offence Michael was ironically driving the car to a mechanic to sell it.
Ms Denes replied the disqualified driver had just happened to be picked up ‘by the ever-efficient Richmond Highway Patrol' and said that being stopped at 6.30pm on a Sunday night was ‘a strange time' to be taking his car to the mechanic.
She said Michael previously served a jail sentence for a high-range drink-driving offence and had driven again in complete disregard of the law and she would impose the custodial sentence.