SPIKED: Jacobus Cloete leaves Bundaberg Courthouse.
SPIKED: Jacobus Cloete leaves Bundaberg Courthouse. Ross Irby

'Polite' cyclist claims juice was spiked with vodka

CYCLIST Jacobus Cloete was dehydrated after a 25km bike ride when he bumped into long lost buddies who filled up his water bottle with "fruit juice” while chatting.

But Cloete told the Bundaberg Magistrates Court he had not known the fruity home-mix they poured him in a car park at Mon Repos contained vodka.

The 67-year-old retiree was in court charged with a driving offence after colliding with a car near Qunaba while driving the bicycle home in his Toyota Land Cruiser.

Prosecutor Senior Constable Tina Bland said police were called at 1pm to a two-vehicle crash at the Potters Rd intersection.

They said when tested he he was found to be four times the legal limit with an alcohol reading of 0.201.

Cloete pleaded guilty to driving under the influence on Bargara Rd on July 24.

He said he'd been shocked to learn he tested positive as he had not been drinking alcohol.

"I am embarrassed and disappointed to be here today,” a politely spoken Cloete told the court.

"I will fill you in on what's happened on the day.

"I've been a teetotaller since 2015. I was not drinking at all.

"I cycled two hours from Mon Repos and when I got back I'd finished all my water and was loading my bike when two men came up to me who I recognised from England.

"They were on a world tour and on their way to Africa and wanted to talk to me on Africa.

"They offered me a beer. I said no, I don't drink any more.

"We've (they said) got a fruit drink we made ourselves and filled my 600ml water bottle.”

Cloete said he later drove off and when stopped at a stop sign near the state school his Land Cruiser rolled back - "I slipped onto the accelerator pedal and accidentally slipped across the road”.

He spoke again to his English friends and asked what was in the fruit drink. "They told me they added plenty of vodka to it.”

"I'd never drank spirits. A very powerful fruity drink,” Cloete said.

"I did not know what the taste was.

"I am guilty on the basis of evidence. But I did not have a drop to drink. I was completely unaware.

"I did not feel weird. Felt completely normal.

"In a way I am not guilty as I did not drink.

"When I got behind the wheel I was completely unaware I had alcohol.”

Cloete said he was tired and dehydrated after a 25km ride and had not suspected anything about the taste.

Magistrate Neil Lavering halted the case after the explanation and adjourned the matter until December, saying Cloete would benefit from obtaining legal advice.



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