Driver blows .333, goes away for nine months

A  MAN, driving while towing a caravan, had a blood-alcohol reading of .333.

His intended trip from Goondiwindi to Dirranbandi ended in jail after he appeared  the Goondiwindi Magistrates Court recently.

Christopher James Schmidt, 56, a seasonal worker currently from Dirranbandi, was caught driving in Marshall Street on August 6.

He had a BAC of .333 and was towing a caravan at the time. His lawyer, Ms Bishop said, “He is the first to admit he has a drinking problem. 

“He has sought rehab in the past; unfortunately it has not been entirely successful. He was disqualified from driving for three years in 2011, and served seven months in prison in NSW.”

“This is an extremely high reading,” said Police Prosecutor, Sgt Wiggan. “Work is the best thing for him,” said Ms Bishop.

Magistrate Lee agreed: “You have a very, very serious traffic history. When you work hard you don’t get on the grog. (But) this is extremely high.”

Mr Schmidt was sentenced to nine months imprisonment, with a parole date of September 14, 2013 and disqualified from driving for four years.

Three months jail for stealing

DONNA Ruth Bornen, 42, unemployed, of Goondiwindi pleaded guilty to two charges of stealing when she appeared in the Goondiwindi Magistrate’s Court recently.

On August 2, at 12.10pm, Ms Bornen filled up her car with $127 worth of unleaded petrol at Freedom Fuel in Marshall Street. 

She attempted to pay with a bankcard, and when that didn’t work she drove off, and “gave the finger” to an employee.

 The second charge related to the theft of a bottle of Bundaberg Rum valued at $36 from Dan Murphy’s bottleshop in Ispwich. 

Her lawyer, Mr Habermann, said Ms Bornen had thought there was enough money in her daughter’s bankcard account to pay for the fuel and had since gone back and paid the bill.

Sgt Wiggan told the court Ms Bornen had four pages of “history”, including trespass, drugs, serious wounding, assaults, public nuisance and breach of various orders.

 An earlier six month sentence suspended for 18 months handed down for domestic violence had been extended by one month in Ipswich Magistrates Court on August 28, following a breach.

“She’s been very fortunate with these suspended sentences,” said Mr Habermann. 

“She knows she’ll go back to prison if she keeps going at this rate.”

“(You) have a terrible criminal history. (I am of the) clear view imprisonment is the option here,” said Magistrate Lee. 

Ms Bornen was sentenced to three months, with immediate parole release. She was also ordered to repay $36 to Dan Murphy’s.

Six months for club break-in

PETER Dwayne Turnbull, 42, of Goondiwindi faced a long list of charges. He pleaded guilty to all of them.

Along with two accomplices he admitted breaking into the Goondiwindi Bowls Club twice on the one night. The first break and enter occurred at 10pm on May 19; the second at 1a.m. on May 20. 

In the second incident, 40 cans of pre-mixed drinks were stolen. A smaller quantity was taken in the first.

“His role was mainly to stay outside and be a cockatoo,” said Sgt. Wiggan.

On July 13, he was charged with the wilful damage of a caravan door and the internal table. He had been staying at the park, and had also been shouting abuse at other residents.

On July 13 he was charged with possession of a dangerous drug and drug utensils.

A bad day only got worse, because at 10a.m. he was charged with public nuisance and obstructing police. He had been standing outside the Goondiwindi Co-op shouting abuse at customers and refusing to let them leave. 

When police arrived he threw himself to the pavement and made it  difficult to remove him.

On May 30, he was charged with another breach of a DVO, and on August 29, he breached a condition of his bail by entering the grounds of a residence in Albert Street.

“He’s got seven pages of Queensland history,” said Sgt. Wiggan. “He’s run his race.”

Mr Habermann said the situation was “extremely frustrating”. “It’s clear alcoholism is the main issue. Unfortunately when he’s drunk he becomes extremely obnoxious. He’s a different man when he’s sober.

“He did successfully negotiate his last suspended sentence, and he’s largely been sober for the last couple of weeks.” He’s ambivalent about the Community Gardens. It’s not compulsory. He’d be prepared to do that,” Mr Habermann said.

“It’s not as though he’s a young person. How many chances does he need?” asked Magistrate Lee. He told Mr Turnbull, “Mr Habermann has made strenuous submissions you be released into the community. I cannot agree. You’ve been given every chance.”

He sentenced Mr Turnbull to six months for each break and enter,  six months for breach of bail, three months for public nuisance and obstructing police, three for wilful damage, one month for possession of drug utensils and two months for the second breach of bail. All sentences are to be served concurrently, and he was given a parole release date of November 4, 2013.

Also appearing ...

Brendan Graham Talbot, 23, a farmhand from Goondiwindi faced 12 charges, all in relation to a search of his residence on August 22.

Charges included possession, supply and production of cannabis.

Sgt Wiggan told the court police found 40 cannabis seeds, two bongs, scales, 14 clipseal bags each containing 1gm of cannabis, as well as $300 in notes in another clipseal bag. 

An examination of the messages on his mobile phone found a number of messages in relation to “weed” and amounts of money.

“It’s not a large-scale operation, but (I) can’t argue there was some degree of commerciality,” said Mr Habermann.

Mr Habermann said Mr Talbot had successfully completed an 18 month probation order issued in 2010 for assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and said Talbot had no criminal history for drugs.

 Talbot was given 18 months probation, with conditions including attending drug counselling and submitting to urine analysis for “therapeutic purposes”. 

“These are serious criminal offences. No conviction will be recorded despite the fact. I hope there’s never a next time, but if there is…” Magistrate Lee said.

The irony wasn’t lost on the court, when Beau Timothy O’Connell, 24, of Miallo entered a guilty plea to a charge of wilful damage. 

The tree-lopper admitted breaking branches off a number of trees in Sandhurst Street at 9.30pm on August 14.

“Are you really a tree-lopper?” asked Magistrate Lee.

“Yes,” said Mr O’Connell.

“I would have thought you’d have more respect for trees, being an aspiring arborist,” said the Magistrate, before imposing a $400 fine.

Natasha Slyvestry, 20, unemployed of Toobeah, faced a range of charges and pleaded guilty to all.  

On July 19 she was caught in Goondiwindi with cannabis, three bongs and a range of other utensils. 

On July 22 she was caught driving an unregistered vehicle without a licence in McLean Street and later that day she was caught at the Shell Service Station and charged with driving while under the influence of drugs. 

“She said she had smoked cannabis earlier in the day. We’re still waiting for the results of the blood tests,” said Sgt Wiggan.

She was fined $500 in relation to the drug offences, no conviction recorded; $400 for driving under the influence of a drug and disqualified from driving for six months, and $200 for the unregistered vehicle.

 Nathan John Martyn, 18, a construction worker from Goondiwindi was fined $1000 and disqualified from driving for nine months.

He had a blood alcohol content of .149.

Nicholas Alexander Campbell, 23, a business manager from Goondiwindi, entered a guilty plea to a charge of drink-driving with a BAC of .081.

He was fined $550 and disqualified from driving for one month.

“What does that mean for your employment?” asked Magistrate Graham Lee.

“I’ll lose my job,” Mr Campbell said.

“Why can’t you walk to work?” Magistrate Lee asked.

“The job’s in Mungindi,” said Mr Campbell.

Damien James Irons, 42, a truck driver from Talwood was fined $1000, but kept his licence after he pleaded guilty to a charge of driving without due care and attention. 

Irons overtook a road-train on a bend on Barwon Highway near Toobeah at 3.30pm on July 23. 

“Another car, coming the other way had to pull off the side of the road to avoid a collision,” Sgt Wiggan told the court. 

The driver of the road-train reported the incident, and police located the vehicle and Mr Irons on August 14.

“The number of these sort of accidents has been phenomenal,” said Sgt Wiggan.

Irons said it had been “an error of judgement but not as bad as it’s been made out to be.

“There was plenty of room to overtake, but I can’t prove it, so I’ll just have to cop it.”

Robert James McCarthy, 29, no stated employment, of Goondiwindi was fined $1200 and disqualified from driving for nine months. 

He pleaded guilty to one charge of driving under the influence and one charge of driving with an expired licence. 

Mr McCarthy was caught by a random breath test unit at midnight on August 9 in Riddle Street.

He returned a BAC of .178.

Gavin John Westwood, 27, a cook from Goondiwindi, was charged for driving while unlicensed. Sgt Wiggan told the court police had seen  Westwood driving in Darling Street at 6pm on August 24, and had followed him to Marshall Street, where they found the car in a drive way with its lights on.

 “He said he had been parking his girlfriend’s car for her. 

She emerged from the house wearing a nightie and did not appear to have been driving the car.”

“His traffic history is nothing to be proud of,” said Sgt Wiggan. 

Westwood was fined $500 and disqualified from driving for a month.

Shannon Rebecca Renata, 20, a stay-at-home mother of Goondiwindi was charged with possession of 2gms of cannabis and various drug utensils on August 9. 

She was found to be ineligible for drug diversion, and fined $600.

Three people faced charges in relation to a fight on Marshall Street at 1a.m. on August 26.

Jeffrey William Suhr, 35, a builder from Goondiwindi, entered a guilty plea to charges of public nuisance and obstructing police. 

Suhr was involved in what Police Prosecutor Ken Wiggan described as a “melee” involving as many as 40 people outside the Royal Hotel at 1a.m. on August 26. 

“There were only two police officers there, attempting to disperse the crowd. “I didn’t realise it was a policeman,” Suhr said. 

He was fined $600.

Samuel Roy Tweedy, 25, a carpenter from Goondiwindi pleaded guilty to one charge of public nuisance arising from the same incident.

Mr Tweedy’s lawyer, Andrew Doyle, told the court the incident began after a football match..

 “My client heard a teammate had been assaulted and a fight broke out.

“As a result of the poor choice he made on that night he is before court. 

“I have counselled him, and this is not a trivial offence and he knows that. 

“Whether a conviction is recorded or not, he needs to understand it will still be there if he ever appears before court again,” Magistrate Lee said.

He was fined $300 and no conviction was recorded.

Brendan Allen Jones, 21, no stated employment, of Goondiwindi also pleaded guilty to one charge of Public Nuisance stemming from the same incident, but did so by letter. “He was throwing punches and he says he’s very sorry,” Sgt Wiggan said.

He was fined $300 and no conviction was recorded.

Beau Jacob Andersen, 18, an apprentice electrician from Roma was charged with Public Nuisance in relation to a different incident on the footpath in Marshall Street on September 2.

“He was aggressive and had to be restrained,” said Sgt Wiggan.

“He was intoxicated and had a fight with a friend of his.”

Fortunately, said Ms Bishop, that argument had since been resolved.

He was fined $300 and no conviction was recorded.

Matthew James Duncan told police his name was “Johnny Wayne McGrady” and that he’d never held a driving licence when he was pulled over on the Gore Highway near Millmerran at 5pm on July 21.

Unfortunately the 47 year-old disability pensioner from Goondiwindi had three pages of traffic history, was charged with failing to provide his name and address and driving without a licence. He was fined $750.

Joshua Shane Brendan Burns, 18, unemployed of Goondiwindi, was charged with unlawfully using a motor vehicle without the consent of the owner. On July 20, at 10pm he was caught driving the vehicle without a licence on the Barwon Highway near Toobeah.

Sgt Wiggan told the court  Burns had taken the vehicle without permission. 

“He has been allowed to borrow the ute in the past, but not on this occasion. 

“He went fishing, and he’s hit a kangaroo, which caused significant damage.”

Mr Burns was given 60 hours’ community service and was disqualified from driving for one month.