Jail term for Gladstone man who illegally overtook off-duty cop

BAD DECISION: A Gladstone man overtook the wrong driver.
BAD DECISION: A Gladstone man overtook the wrong driver. FILE

A GLADSTONE man who overtook the wrong person has been served with a jail sentence and some hefty fines.

Andy Charles Melksham pleaded guilty to a string of charges at the Gladstone Magistrates Court on Friday including one count of contravening a community service order, driving without due care, two counts of driving unlicensed, operating a vehicle during the registration plate disqualification period, possession of a used drug pipe, two counts of possession of dangerous drugs, the removal of a police registration plate confiscation sticker notice, and driving with drugs in his system.

Half of the offences were committed on December 8, while the other half were committed the next day, the court heard.

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Police prosecutor sergeant Barry Stevens said on the first day of the offending, Melksham was intercepted by police at about 7pm.

When asked about his licence Melksham admitted it had been disqualified by a court order for previous offences, Mr Stevens said.

Police conducted a blood alcohol reading test, which returned a negative reading.

But Melksham admitted to police he had smoked "four or five cones" prior to getting behind the wheel.

Police searched his car and found a pipe, after which he was taken to the station and charged.

The next day Melksham was spotted driving towards Roma on the highway by an off-duty police officer.

The officer stated in a police report that Melksham's red commodore had no registration plates, and a police registration plate confiscation sticker was on the bonnet.

The officer noted that Melksham was driving erratically and illegally overtaking motorists, including the officer in his private car, before getting stuck behind a slower truck with no option to overtake.

He began to tailgate the truck, swerving left and right looking for a way around, all while the off-duty officer followed behind him.

The officer tried to indicate to Melksham to pull over, however Melksham only sped up, overtaking the truck and turning into a side street off the highway.

He failed to give way at two intersections.

The off-duty officer called the incident in to police, and Melksham was intercepted shortly after.

Police searched his car, where it was revealed not only was he in possession of cannabis, but he had only just received a further disqualification of his licence the day prior.

Defence lawyer Cassandra Ditchfield said her client had been homeless, and was travelling to Roma after being promised accommodation by a friend.

She said while it was no excuse, the only reason he got behind the wheel a second time was the thought of being able to sleep in a bed.

She said since the offending her client had taken part in counselling, and has stopped smoking cannabis and drinking alcohol.

She also said her client has begun to turn his life around, attending work experience at a local mechanic shop in Gladstone, and living in a one-bedroom unit.

The magistrate said the offences were serious given they occurred on consecutive days.

He sentenced Melksham to six months imprisonment, with immediate parole.

He was disqualified from driving for two years and six months and ordered to pay $1200 in fines.

Topics:  gladstone magistrates court gladstone police gladstone roads

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