Drink-driver appeals 'extraordinarily stern' jail sentence
A DRINK-DRIVER has had his prison sentence overturned.
Stratheden man Beau Daniel Keating, 25, had spent 30 days in custody before his appeal hearing before Lismore District Court last week.
Keating had earlier been sentenced to a term of imprisonment over mid-range drink-driving by Magistrate Roger Prowse before Casino Local Court.
But within minutes of his appeal hearing's commencement, Judge Julia Baly said this was "an extraordinarily stern sentence in the circumstances".
Mr Prowse had sentenced him to eight months' prison, with a five month non-parole period.
"It's a very, very, very, strong sentence indeed, notwithstanding it's a fairly bad example of an offence of its kind," Judge Baly said.
Keating's solicitor, Philip Crick, asked for the time his client had already been in custody to be taken into account.
"He shouldn't have gone to jail for this offence and he has now spent 30 days in custody," Mr Crick said.
The court heard Mr Crick had originally asked for his client to be sentenced to a community corrections order in the Local Court.
"When the learned Magistrate was against me on that I asked for a sentencing assessment report and he refused that," Mr Crick said.
The DPP prosecutor said Keating was "brought to the attention of the police by the manner in which he was driving" but conceded a community corrections order "would be appropriate in the circumstances".
Judge Baly said, according to material before her, Keating had lost control of his car and was "clearly affected by the amount of wine he had".
The court heard he'd consumed four to seven glasses of wine over a two hour period.
But Judge Baly said any sentence of imprisonment seemed "overly extensive" in this case.
"He does have a traffic history but I've certainly seen worse," she said.
She gave Keating a six-month community corrections order.
She maintained a nine-month disqualification from driving.