Hexham man appeals prison sentence after latest driving offence

A HEXHAM man with an appalling record of driving offences will fight a court attempt to make him serve jail time.

Ronald Keeble, 47, of Chatsworth Road, has appealed against the severity of a one-month jail sentence imposed in Warrnambool Magistrates Court after he pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified and breaching an intervention order. 

Keeble has three prior convictions for driving while disqualified and has previously been charged nine times with unlicensed driving.

Last year he was involved in a controversial appeal case in the county court after pleading guilty in Warrnambool Magistrates Court in February to his ninth charge of unlicensed driving. He was jailed for a month.

But, in August Keeble appealed against the severity of the sentence to the county court, which heard that the driving offending also breached a three-month suspended jail sentence.

Judge Bill Stuart found that a combination of factors led to exceptional circumstances, which allowed Keeble to avoid serving the suspended jail sentence and he imposed a new sentence of two months’ imprisonment which was suspended for six months.

Judge Stuart noted that Keeble would not have breached the county court suspended sentence if the “more realistic” sentence had been handed down in the magistrates court. What was not known by the county court judge was that Keeble had already been caught driving again just two months before his appeal.

In this week’s case before magistrate Jonathan Klestadt, police alleged that on June 29 last year — while on appeal bail — Keeble drove in an attempt to stop his 15-year-old daughter leaving his Hexham property with a 17-year-old boyfriend.

The daughter and her friend locked themselves in a vehicle.  Police arrived and Keeble went from being co-operative to intimidating.

That behaviour breached an intervention order that was previously granted covering the girl.

A solicitor said Keeble was only concerned for his daughter’s welfare.

Mr Klestadt said Keeble had not held a licence for a decade but continued to drive.

The magistrate said Keeble was a repeat offender but 13 times was not going to be lucky for the defendant, who has not previously served a jail term for his driving offences.

“It’s absurd”, Mr Klestadt said, “you’ve used up all your luck”.

Keeble was convicted, fined $500 and jailed for one month, with a further two months suspended for two years.

Keeble was released on bail after lodging notice of appeal.