CQ miner with $8000 in unpaid fines avoids jail time
A YEPPOON man whose appalling driving history has seen him rack up more than $8000 in unpaid fines, has narrowly avoided jail time.
Steven Patrick Walsh, 47, pleaded guilty in Yeppoon Magistrates Court last Thursday to disqualified driving.
The court heard that when Walsh got caught by police at Biggenden in July, it was the latest indiscretion in a long history of traffic offending.
Walsh, a former BHP mine worker who recently secured work with Adani, was figuratively put under the blow torch by Magistrate Jason Schubert.
Mr Schubert was highly critical of Walsh's attitude to paying off his fines with the State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER).
"Your last payment was back in January of this year for a small amount of $40," Mr Schubert said.
"So, my concerns are, one of my sentencing considerations to deter people from committing further offences, you've received fines for disqualified driving previously.
"You have four offences of it - in 2004, one in 2005 and another in 2016, and you're back before the court today with another disqualified driving charge.
"My concerns, and why I'm seeking further submissions, is that a fine is not a suitable deterrent.
"You've been fined before, you don't pay your fines, you've got over $8000, nearly $9000 in unpaid fines and you're back before the court once again with like offending."
Walsh's lawyer said if Walsh was to spend time in prison that would "definitely result in him losing his current employment."
"It was very difficult for him to find employment at the time, and he would just be a burden on society," she said.
The lawyer conceded Walsh's driving history was "absolutely embarrassing and atrocious."
"It's clear that he needs a message," she said.
"I would urge Your Honour to give him one last opportunity."
Magistrate Schubert delivered Walsh a strong message after noting that the miner's outstanding SPER debt was exactly $8887.25.
"You appear before the court with some 12 pages of criminal history," Mr Schubert said.
"It's an appalling criminal history - it shows someone who's got a complete and utter contempt for anyone telling him not to drive.
"I've mentioned the disqualified drive, but I've counted six on your history.
"I've got to put those into perspective though - there were four of those back in 1997, there's a 2005.
"You've got unlicensed driving this year, 2020, hence why you were disqualified once again, you've got 2015 unlicensed driving, drug-driving matter in 2019, and a driving under the influence of drugs in 2015."
Magistrate Schubert sentenced Walsh to four months' jail, wholly suspended for 20 months.
Walsh was also disqualified from driving for two years.
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