John Jackson pleaded guilty in the Caloundra Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
John Jackson pleaded guilty in the Caloundra Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

Driver fearing COVID-19 refused to be breathalysed

A motorist who refused to be breathalysed fearing he would catch COVID-19 has been taken off the road for six months.

John Patrick Jackson pleaded guilty in the Caloundra Magistrates Court on Tuesday to two charges of failing to provide a specimen of breath.

Police prosecutor Stu Lydford told the court police received information about a traffic hazard on the Bruce Hwy, Glenview on May 15.

The court heard police attended and found Jackson in the driver's seat and detected a smell of alcohol on his breath.

"At 4.55am, he refused a breath test and he was warned that if he failed to comply, he'd be arrested," Sergeant Lydford said.

The court heard Jackson refused a second time and was taken to Beerwah police station.

He refused to be breathalysed at the police station, saying he didn't want to because of COVID-19.

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Lawyer Benjamin Rynderman told the court Jackson didn't want to provide a specimen of breath because he suffered from respiratory problems and had elderly parents.

"When the COVID-19 pandemic began, it was decided among he and his six siblings that he would become the primary carer for his parents," he said.

"He was concerned that providing a specimen to police who weren't wearing gloves or masks that there was the chance of contracting the virus.

"He acknowledges that it was a poor decision and he should have complied with police directions."

Magistrate Stephanie Tonkin said while refusing to be breathalysed was a serious offence, she took into account his unremarkable traffic history.

She fined him $950 and disqualified him from driving for six months.

No convictions were recorded.



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