A LEARNER driver who can only drive a car fitted with an alcohol interlock device due to previous drink-driving offences returned to court this week.
Timothy Benson, 22, of Glenrowe Avenue, Warrnambool, pleaded guilty in Warrnambool Magistrates Court to charges of being a learner driver without an experienced driver accompanying them, using fraudulent number plates and driving a vehicle without an alcohol interlock device.
The court heard that on March 13 this year, Benson was driving a car to a friend’s house when he was stopped by police. Benson was by himself in the car, which had fraudulent plates on it and did not have an interlock device fitted.
Magistrate Jonathan Klestadt noted Benson had three convictions for drink-driving and that the interlock condition on his licence was “not there for fun”.
Benson’s defence counsel Danielle Svede said the car belonged to one of Benson’s friends and was being moved so it could be worked on.
She said the appropriate permits were in place allowing the car to be moved for mechanical work to be undertaken, and that the plates on the car were the ones that were with it when purchased.
Mr Klestadt described Benson’s prior criminal record as “one of the worst histories I’ve seen, and I’ve been doing this almost as long as you’ve been on this planet”. “Paradoxically, it’s your history that saves you,” he said.
Noting that this set of offences was Benson’s only offending in the past year and that Benson was now employed, Mr Klestadt said he was “prepared to acknowledge there has been some change in your attitude … but don’t push your luck”. Benson was convicted and ordered to pay a $1000 fine, plus $69.70 costs.