THE drink driver believed to have recorded the highest blood alcohol reading in Queensland over the Easter period has escaped a prison sentence after facing Proserpine Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
Anthony Paul Sardena, 41, was convicted and fined $3000 and disqualified from driving for three years after pleading guilty to driving with a BAC of 0.368 per cent, a whopping seven times over the legal limit.
It was Sardena’s second drink driving conviction in 18 months and it almost certainly would have resulted in a custodial sentence had he been behind the wheel on the previous occasion.
He wasn’t – in the previous case he was in the car as a passenger, supervising a learner driver – which according to Magistrate Ron Muirhead was enough to give him one last shot at freedom.
Instead he will spend three months in Mackay rehabilitation clinic, Ozcare – a pillar of the defence’s case to keep Sardena out of jail.
Sardena was charged with the drink driving offence after a boozy Easter Thursday lunch with an old friend.
He left Airlie Beach backpacker bar Magnums after having an argument with his lunch companion and got in his car to drive to his home in Jubilee Pocket.
After driving just a short distance he had what defence lawyer, Macrossan and Amiet’s Kylie Davies, described as a light bulb moment, realising he was not fit to drive before performing a u-turn and parking his car poorly in a taxi zone.
The court heard that a taxi driver that saw Sardena get out of the car then called the police to report the incident.
When police arrived in the Airlie CBD they found Sardena at the entrance to Magnums trying to re-enter the venue.
He was taken back to the police station to be breath tested and at about 6.10pm, roughly an hour after the taxi driver reported Sardena’s driving, he recorded the astronomical reading.
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