Driver narrowly escapes prison

IF you choose to ignore a court-ordered ban and continue to drive while disqualified, you can expect to be out of pocket by $2500 and walking the pavement for three years.

That is what Russell John Hindmarsh learned in the Emerald Magistrate’s Court last week when he pleaded guilty to the single charge of driving while disqualified by a court order.

Police prosecutor Robyn Schapcott told the court at 1.45pm on February 8, Emerald police saw a LandCruiser headed southbound on Opal St that failed to indicate turning into Egerton St.

When officers stopped the vehicle and asked the driver for his licence, Mr Hindmarsh handed over a learner licence and told police it had been disqualified by a court order.

Checks revealed he was disqualified until January 10, 2013.

The apprentice diesel mechanic told police he was driving to the hospital to see his newborn child.

Solicitor Brian Studman told the court the offence happened six weeks after the previous conviction and it was his client’s third conviction.

He said Mr Hindmarsh had ADHD and was confused with the licence application process.

“When he gets frustrated, he just switches off,” Mr Studman said, and told the court family circumstances around the birth of his child contributed to his frustration and stress on the day the offence occurred.

“He co-operated with police and regrets his actions but there were extenuating circumstances.”

He asked Magistrate Ron Muirhead to consider a higher fine and lower disqualification period.

Mgst Muirhead said Mr Hindmarsh had evidently not learned his lesson despite three disqualifications on his licence, and cautioned the 19-year-old that he could be headed for a prison term if his driving record did not improve.

“The fact is, you were disqualified in January and you were driving again one month later,” he said. “You had a charge in December last year, and to make matters worse, in July last year, you were caught unlicenced driving as well.

“Imprisonment should be imposed.”

But Mgst Muirhead said Mr Hindmarsh’s personal circumstances and the fact he runs his own business were in his favour.

He was fined $2500 and disqualified for three years with a recorded conviction, and was cautioned that if he appeared in court in the next couple of years, he could realistically expect to go to prison.

There is an application before the court to impound Mr Hindmarsh’s vehicle for up to three months.

However, he is expected to fight the application on the basis he needs his ute for work.

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