Man drives illegally for 22 years

PETER Thorpe got two shocks when he was stopped for a random breath test.

Firstly, he was slightly over the legal limit despite having a good night’s sleep.

But even worse, he had been disqualified from driving in Queensland for the past 22 years and he didn’t know it.

Mr Thorpe, a highly respected 47-year-old general manager of a national company, travels Australia for his work and was shocked to find he hadn’t had a licence in Queensland for more than two decades.

The Mackay Magistrate’s Court heard that Mr Thorpe had been staying at a motel in Mackay and he had three glasses of wine and a few beers at the motel’s restaurant on December 20. He left the restaurant when it closed, about 9pm or 9.30pm, and went to bed.

The next morning, he was driving to Emerald on business when he was stopped for a random breath test on the Peak Downs Highway, near Eton, at 5.02am.

The police officer thought he could smell alcohol on Mr Thorpe’s breath and a test showed a reading of 0.062 per cent. He was charged.

When he arrived at court on Wednesday, police were waiting to charge him with disqualified driving. Checks on Mr Thorpe’s Queensland traffic record showed that he was disqualified absolutely in October, 1987, in Ipswich.

Under Queensland law at that time, he could have applied to have the disqualification removed in 1992.

However, he had moved to New South Wales and forgot about it.

He was the holder of a NSW licence, which was valid until 2014.

He pleaded guilty to drink-driving and driving while disqualified.

Magistrate Damien Dwyer explained that the mandatory penalty to disqualified driving was the loss of a licence for two years.

Mr Thorpe was fined $500 and was disqualified from driving for two years and one month.

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