Man disqualified but still driving

DISQUALIFIED from driving until 2025 for repeatedly driving when ordered not to, Ernest Hickling was jailed this week after he was caught by police once more behind the wheel on his way to the shops.

Hickling, 46, of Tabulam, maintained his composure in Casino Local Court when he received a 12-month jail sentence from Magistrate Robyn Denes who ordered that he complete just four weeks before being eligible for release on supervised parole.

Ms Denes, who showed some empathy for Hickling's plight, said she had no choice but to jail him despite defence argument for some leniency and evidence from a local church pastor about the good work Hickling did for his community.

She also disqualified him from driving until 2027.

Hickling pleaded guilty to the charge that he drove a Ford Falcon along the Bruxner Highway at 12.15pm on May 29.

He was stopped by police for an RBT.

In evidence before the court Hickling was first disqualified from driving more than 20 years ago, and because of his continued offences his disqualification period continued to lengthen.

Prosecutor Sgt Peter Costin-Neilsen said it was Hickling's ninth driving while disqualified offence, and he had previously served four months jail for similar offences and also received a 12-month suspended jail sentence.

Sgt Costin-Neilsen said the offender would have to be ‘the unluckiest person in the world' to be caught in a ‘one-off' situation.

Ms Denes said she was not that naive. “I think there is a lot of gambling going on.”

(She was referring to other disqualified drivers in the community who take a chance by driving illegally).”

Defence lawyer Neal Funnell said Hickling had been behind a driving program at Tabulam and was actively encouraging young people to attend and get their driver's licence to ‘stop them following in his footsteps'.

“But he has done it again,” replied Ms Denes.

“Mr Hickling I wish you well but you have got to take responsibility for this as well.”

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