Drunk driver blames COVID-19 for skipping court
A LABOURER who was caught drink driving twice and failed to appear in court said he was unable to get to the courthouse because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Appearing in Gatton Magistrates Court, Thierno Bah said he had been working on solar farms in New South Wales and was unable to cross the border to face his charges in court when he was expected to.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Alister Windsor said Bah had been first caught drink driving on October 20, 2019.
Police pulled him over at 7am and asked him to undergo a roadside breath test.
The result confirmed he was above the legal limit, with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.09.
“He was required to attend the Gayndah Magistrates Court on November 22 – he failed to attend on that occasion,” Sgt Windsor said.
Police issued a warrant for Bah’s arrest.
The court heard Bah was found drink driving a second time eight months later.
On June 14, 2020, Bah was driving in Emerald about midnight when he was stopped by police for a random breath test.
He tested positive and the result showed he was even further above the limit than the last time he was caught.
“It returned a reading of 0.135,” Sgt Windsor said.
The court heard police questioned Bah later on, when he surrendered into police custody at the Gatton Police Station.
“When questioned in relation to his failure to appear, he claimed he was an itinerant labourer and had been working on solar farms,” Sgt Windsor said.
“He said, due to COVID-19 restrictions, he had been unable to appear in Emerald as required.”
He pleaded guilty to two drink driving charges and for having failed to appear.
Magistrate Howard Osborne fined Bah $350 for failing to appear, $500 for the first instance of drink driving and $750 for the second instance of drink driving.
He lost his licence for ten months.
Convictions were recorded for the drink driving but no conviction was recorded for failing to appear.
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