Passenger's actions add to driver's strife
HAVING a passenger lying on the floor of the van he was driving added to a Bowen man's legal troubles.
Damien Raymond Unwin, 38, pleaded guilty in Bowen Magistrates Court on September 10 to failing to make sure each passenger over 16 years was wearing a seatbelt, unlicensed driving and driving over the general alcohol limit.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Emma Myors told the court that when police pulled Unwin over at 12.13am on October 7 last year they found a man on the floor of the van behind the back seat.
They also found Unwin's Victorian driver's licence had been disqualified, and he recorded a blood alcohol concentration of 0.076, Sgt Myors said.
The court heard Unwin told police at the time he had consumed six or seven stubbies of beer at a Bowen hotel and was driving from Bowen to Airlie Beach.
"He said none of the other passengers could drive because they were drunk,” Sgt Myors said.
"I think what aggravates it is so many other passengers were in the vehicle.”
Duty solicitor Cleo Rewald told the court Unwin's 11-year-old daughter had died eight years ago and his relationship with his most recent partner had dissolved.
"He has struggled a lot and has not sought appropriate treatment to deal with his grief,” Mrs Rewald said.
She said the vehicle Unwin was driving that night was not his and belonged to another backpacker who was in the van.
"He did not think he was over the limit,” Mrs Rewald said.
"The owner was not able to drive and he made the decision to drive even though he was unlicensed.”
Magistrate James Morton fined Unwin $750 for drink-driving, $400 for his passenger not wearing a seatbelt and $150 for unlicensed driving.
His driver's licence was also disqualified for a further six months.
"Blaming all this on the death of your daughter, which is a sad event ... sometime you are going to have to stop blaming that,” Mr Morton said.