Friendly favour yields suspension

LOUIS PAGE wanted to do the right thing by a friend when the disqualified driver drove the woman home, concerned about her safety after they had been drinking together.

Lismore Local Court Magistrate Robyn Denes thought otherwise when she asked Page why he had simply not called her a taxi.

Page, 33, an artist and university media student, replied: ‘A lack of funds'.

Page pleaded guilty this week to driving while disqualified in Lismore at 11.15pm on August 13. He was fined $650 and disqualified from driving for another 12 months – from November 24, 2011, until November 23, 2012.

Police facts stated that when Page was stopped for an RBT he had two female passengers in his car and could not produce a licence. A check by the officers revealed he had been disqualified from November 2008 until November 2011.

Defence lawyer Tom Trembath argued for some leniency because his client had limited means and drove an old car worth $1000.

Mr Trembath said despite being disqualified Page had not been habitually abusing his status as a disqualified driver and on the night of the offence a female friend became very intoxicated and his client got his car to drive her home.

“She was incapable of getting home under her own steam. And it was a rough area of Lismore,” Mr Trembath said.

Ms Denes then asked Page why he had not called a taxi.

The magistrate said she was not sure if she accepted his explanation, or that the offence just happened to be the one time he drove to help a friend and was caught by the very efficient Richmond LAC Highway Patrol officers.

After convicting and fining the wayward driver, Ms Denes warned him not to drive, saying people did get sent to jail for the offence.

“It's your choice,” she said.

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