Workers 10th drink-drive charge

The Daily Telegraph

Tuesday 31 July 2001

Doran outside Newcastle Local Court charged with his 10th drink-driving offence
By FRANCES O'SHEA

JAMES Doran knew that he was in considerable trouble yesterday.

The panelbeater had just pleaded guilty to his 10th drink-driving offence and was awaiting sentencing by Magistrate Alan Railton in Newcastle court.

The 47-year-old from Anna Bay, near Newcastle, had nine previous convictions for drink-driving eight between 1972 and 1990 and one last November when he was stopped by police on June 9 this year.

A subsequent blood alcohol test revealed a reading of .145, almost three times the limit.

So it would have been no surprise to Mr Doran that he was banned but perhaps fact the disqualification was only three years would have.

When police pulled over Doran's distictive gold Holden Gemini in suburban Newcastle just after midnight he said he had been driving to try to find something to eat.

He told officers he had been drinking Tooheys New beer for five hours since 7pm.

He had only been back on the road for four weeks after disqualification before the latest drink-driving offence.

Yesterday his barrister Lee Carr said Doran realised he was in difficulty due to his record.

He said in 1990 his client had left Sydney moving to the Newcastle area.

"He wanted to get away and was offence-free for 10 years," Mr Carr said.

He said the latest drink-driving charge had come at a time when Doran had been asked by his wife to leave home.

"He went to the hotel for a few drinks and was driving to get some food when he was stopped by a random breath test unit.

"He understands he will lose his licence for a considerable time.

"He has now moved out of the family home, his problems have resolved themselves and he is thinking of starting a new life."

He said Doran was undergoing drug and alcohol counselling on a weekly basis and had done some of his own accord.

Mr Carr said Doran worked six days a week and his employment could possibly be in jeopardy were he sentenced to a term of periodic detention.

Magistrate Railton said: "There is a big gap but this is an extraordinary record.

".145 is a significant reading and I'm not sure if it is good or bad thing that you were stopped by a RBT unit.

"I am concerned you have the capacity to consume alcohol and still drive around at that level."

Mr Railton sentenced Doran to four months jail but allowed him to be assessed for home detention.

He disqualified him from holding a licence for three years and further recommended he not be re-issued a licence after that time until he could satisfy authorities he no longer had an alcohol problem.

Doran's tendered record showed he was first convicted of drink-driving in July 1972.

He was fined $120 in Sydney central court and disqualified for three months.

In April 1973 Doran was fined $150 and disqualified for 12 months in Liverpool Court for the same offence.

Only three months later in Sydney Central Court he was fined a total of $220, placed on a two year good behaviour bond and disqualified for five years for drink driving and driving while disqualified.

In January 1975 he did not appear in Liverpool court to answer a charge of driving with the prescribed concentration of alcohol.

In April 1979 Doran was fined $1000 and disqualified for three years for drink driving.

Seven years later he committed the offence of driving with the mid-range prescribed concentration of alcohol.

In Liverpool court Doran was fined $500 and disqualified from driving for 12 months.

In September 1987 at Cabramatta Doran was ordered to perform 100 hours community service and disqualified for three years for driving with the mid-range concentration of alcohol.

Almost 13 years later he was before Fairfield court charged with mid-range drink driving.

On that occasion Doran was ordered to perform four months periodic detention and disqualified for three years.

Last November in Newcastle Local Court Doran pleaded guilty to mid-range drink driving and was fined $400 and disqualified for six months.