Driver in plea for leniency

BEING caught drink-driving after enjoying organic wine on Christmas Day after doing farm work took the festive spirit out of Christmas for Natasha Patten.

Patten, 31, of The Channon, pleaded guilty in Lismore Local Court to the charge of mid-range drink-driving on Ballina Road at 8.10pm on December 25 last year, with a blood/alcohol level of 0.110 per cent.

Police alleged Patten's car was travelling toward them on the wrong side of the road with the high-beam lights illuminated, forcing them to pull off the road to avoid a head-on collision.

In court Patten disputed the allegation, saying her high beam had not been switched on as she checked when stopped by police.

She said she drank two glasses of organic red wine that afternoon.

Patten pleaded for leniency, saying she worked in the hospitality industry and her driver's licence had been suspended, making it difficult for her to work.

When asked about the allegation she was driving on the wrong side of the road, Patten said she was turning left and did cross over to the other side of the road -'it was bad judgement'.

“I rarely drink and that day I had been working on the farm in the sun, composting,” she said.

Magistrate Robyn Denes said she would give Patten the benefit of doubt, even though she had veered on to the wrong side of the road.

She found the offence proven, but did not record a conviction, instead placing Patten on an 18-month Section 10 bond.



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