Magistrate lets Gympie drug driver make 15 hour trip home
A MAN who pleaded guilty to drug driving while on a provisional license had his punishment delayed so he could make the 15-hour return drive from Gympie to his home in central New South Wales.
Regan Eric Clayton faced Gympie Magistrates Court last week on one charge of driving with a relevant drug present in his blood or saliva, which occurred when he was stopped by Police at Noosa North Shore on December 28 last year.
Magistrate Chris Callaghan informed Mr Clayton he would have to ban his license for three months because he only held a provisional license, but soon realised the difficulty he would face in returning home.
Mr Clayton drove to court in Gympie but lived 15 hours away in Narrabri, rendering he and his vehicle stranded upon disqualification.
"Can we by any chance start for tomorrow?” Mr Clayton asked.
"No, the law says ... it started at midnight last night,” Mr Callaghan replied.
"I'll have to wing it then,” Mr Clayton said.
Initially faced with the task of requesting a friend to pick him up, Mr Clayton was thrown a lifeline by the sympathetic magistrate.
"I don't want to see people stranded, we're not here to crucify people,” Mr Callaghan said.
"What we could do is adjourn the matter to next week some time so you can drive home and when you don't appear next week I won't issue a warrant for your arrest but I'll proceed ex parte.”
"That sounds beautiful, that sounds perfect. Better than being stranded,” Mr Clayton replied.
Mr Callaghan soon adjourned the matter for sentence on March 21, where Mr Clayton will have to appear in court by telephone.
"Answer the phone please. I'm helping you out so you help me out,” Mr Callaghan told Mr Clayton.
"I'll set an alarm,” came the reply.