Pedestrian Council of
Safety – Amenity – Access – Health
Tuesday 14 November 2006
NSW DPP Directs Appeal on .08
P-Plate Drink Drive Case
PCA Will Ask NSW Court of Appeal to Remove Sections 10s from All Drink-Drive Convictions
Following written requests by the Pedestrian Council of Australia to the NSW DPP and NSW Police, to appeal the Drink-Drive case involving Ms Lourdes Rahe, the DPP has just informed us that he has directed that there will be an appeal. (see email below)
The Chairman of the PCA, Mr Harold Scruby said: "This is an important decision. The case involved a P-Plate driver who pleaded guilty to a BAC of .08 (when P-Plate drivers are not permitted any alcohol), running a red light and not displaying her P-Plates. The Magistrate gave Ms Ray a Section 10 with fines of $70 for not displaying her P-plates and $180 for the red-light conviction.
Mr Scruby added: "A Section 10 means that while the offence is proven, no conviction is recorded. In our view, there should be no Section 10s awarded for Drink-Drive convictions. The message in NSW is still very clear: "Drink-Drive: Get Off". Currently, in NSW, nearly 10% of low and mid-range Drink-Drive convictions receive a Section 10. In Victoria, the Government, being sick and tired of magistrates being soft on Drink-Drivers, added mandatory 10 Demerit Points to DuI offences for BACs of .069 and under and removed magistrates' discretion to issue Section 10s for DuI convictions of BACs of .070 and above. Victoria continues to have the lowest Road Toll in Australia.
"We will be writing to the Chief Justice of NSW, the Honourable Jim Spigelman AC in the near future, asking the Court of Appeal to review low and mid-range drink-driving convictions, in the hope that Section 10s will be removed from these offences as they were for high range DuI in October 2004.
"DuI convictions must be consistent if we are to reduce the Road Toll, in which up to 40% of road trauma is alcohol related. Motorists must get the message loud and clear; if they drink and drive, they will lose their licences." Mr Scruby said.
Contact: Harold Scruby - (0418) 110-011
From: Loughnan, Rhonda [mailto:RLoughnan@odpp.nsw.gov.au]
Sent: Tuesday, 14 November 2006 10:34 AM
Subject: 2622793 - Re: Lourdes RAHE
Mr Harold Scruby Chairman, Pedestrian Council of Australia Limited,
Regards, Rhonda Loughnan - Secretariat Unit
From: PCA [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, 6 November 2006 4:05 PM
Subject: Request for Appeal - Ms Lourdes Ray
Mr Nicholas Cowdrey QC
DPP - NSW
Attention: Ms Sheelagh Stone
We are writing to you regarding a matter reported in the Sunday Telegraph of 29 October 2006, concerning the case involving Ms Lourdes Ray.
A copy of the article is attached.
It was reported that Ms Lourdes, a P-plate driver, was convicted of:
1 DuI recording .08 BAC (mid-range)
2 Running a red light
3 Failing to display P-plates
In spite of the fact that P-plate drivers must have zero BAC, the Magistrate gave Ms Ray a Section 10 with fines of $70 for not displaying her P-plates and $180 for the red-light conviction.
As you know, the Section 10 conviction will not be recorded and it is likely she will not even have to declare to her insurers in future that she has been convicted of mid-range drink-driving.
If this report is true, the decision, in our view, is clearly, unequivocally and manifestly inadequate.
It is not consistent, fair or equitable and it sends out the abundantly clear message: "Drink-Drive: Get Off".
And this is while the Government and Road Safety organisations are doing their best to save the lives of P-Plate drivers on our roads.
We ask that you appeal this decision without delay.