Failing to learn lesson lands driver in prison

IT was an emotionally charged end to Jason Brett Riddell’s appearance in the Emerald Magistrate’s Court on Monday when he was sentenced to nine months in prison.

The repeat offender pleaded guilty to one count of driving while disqualified by a court order and according to his solicitor, knew he would serve time.

Prosecutor Sergeant Robyn Shapcott told the court Riddell was intercepted by Anakie police on April 30, on Rubyvale Rd, for speeding.

When asked to produce his licence, Riddell told officers he didn’t have one and admitted it had been disqualified.

The 26-year-old, who had previously been sentenced to nine months prison for driving offences, said he was driving his girlfriend’s car because his vehicle had been impounded, Sgt Shapcott said.

The court heard Riddell had been disqualified by a court order four times since March 5, 2005.

“He is obviously not getting the message,” Sgt Shapcott said, and called on Magistrate Cameron Press to consider a nine month prison term.

Defence solicitor Roland Pianta described his client as a young man with a strong work ethic who had been gainfully employed since he was 15 years old.

He said his client didn’t contest the impounding order sought by the prosecution, but was remorseful for his actions which resulted in him appearing before the court.

Mr Pianta said a number of factors contributed to Riddell driving on April 30, and quoted his client as admitting to him he had “gone off the rails”.

“(My client) does understand jail is the most likely outcome,” Mr Pianta said, and told the court Riddell had missed a lift with a friend to a party so had driven himself.

“He described this as the end of an episode in his life.

“After jail he will return, settle down and set up a business,” he added, and said Riddell planned to marry his fiancee at the end of the year.

Mgst Cameron Press said Riddell had a history that could “only be described as appalling”.

“You have left the court with no option, and you are such a young fellow,” he said.

“You will keep getting imprisoned if you still do this.”

Riddell is eligible for parole on October 11 and was disqualified from driving for three years.

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