News

Very nearly straight to jail — maybe next time

By Riverine Herald

A MAN caught driving for the second time after his licence was disqualified for being drunk behind the wheel was lucky not to be going to jail, a magistrate has said.

Stuart Kneebone was placed on a 12-month community corrections order after pleading guilty in Echuca Magistrates Court recently to driving while disqualified.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Paul Bush said police stopped Kneebone on McKenzie Rd, Echuca, about 6.30am on April 24 this year.

Checks revealed his licence was disqualified for 26 months on May 16 last year after a drunk driving conviction, recording a blood alcohol concentration of 0.134. It followed another drunk driving conviction in 2009 where he blew 0.12.

The court heard after Kneebone’s first driving while disqualified conviction, he was placed on a community corrections order which he breached.

Magistrate Patrick Southey said if the prisons weren’t at bursting point, jail would be an option for Kneebone.

‘‘Fifteen years ago, I would have sentenced him to jail but sentencing practices have changed,’’ he said.

‘‘You try to protect the community by putting him off the road but he keeps driving. This is very serious and shows total disregard for the law.’’

Lawyer Adrian Ambrose said Kneebone had recently separated from his partner of three years and had to drive himself to work.

‘‘He has engaged with the Cool Heads program, handed in the keys to his car and moved home, so his mother and brother take him to work,’’ he said.

Mr Southey also convicted and fined Kneebone $500.

‘‘This is your last chance,’’ he said.