Magistrate criticises poor driving

NORTHERN Rivers motorists were failing to heed the lessons from repeated road tragedies in the region, Lismore Magistrate Robyn Denes said yesterday.

Speaking from the bench after a horror weekend on North Coast roads that left five people dead and 16 injured, and facing a court list that included more than 20 driving offences and 11 drink-driving offences, Ms Denes said some drivers appeared to go on to the road with the belief they were invincible.

She pointed to the 2006 tragedy at Broken Head, where four young men died in a car crash. The driver of the car – who had not been drinking at the time – was later jailed over the tragedy.

“You only need to speak to the parents of the young boy in jail or the parents of the ... four who died,” a frustrated Ms Denes said.

“Most people in town know of that case, but it doesn’t seem to have had any effect on anyone.”

Ms Denes comments came as she sentenced 25-year-old Dwayne Bruce Atkins from Lake Cathie, near Port Macquarie, for a drunken drive around Lismore in a mate’s car last month.

Atkins lost his licence for three years for the jaunt and was fined a total of more than $1500. The court heard he hit a tree, but continued driving around Lismore, veering across roads.

When police, alerted by security guards, picked up Atkins he gave a blood-alcohol reading of 0.18. Ms Denes also put Atkins on an 18-month good behaviour bond and said he was lucky not to be jailed.

Also among the drink-drivers in court yesterday were:

Daniel John Walsh, 29, of Lismore, who lost his licence for six months and was fined at total $576 after blowing 0.115 in a random breath test in February;

Christopher Brian Jackson, 50, of Terragon, who blew .095 at Blue Knob Road, Nimbin, last month. His case was adjourned to June 21 so he could complete the traffic offenders program; and

Rohan Graeme Sommers, 19, of Lismore, who was fined a total $1176 and lost his licence for two years after blowing 0.16 at Diadem Street, Lismore, in March.

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