UNDER THE INFLUENCE: Dean Wallace Skudder pleaded guilty to drink driving after providing a breath analysis three times over the legal limit following a birthday party at a friends house. Source: Facebook.
UNDER THE INFLUENCE: Dean Wallace Skudder pleaded guilty to drink driving after providing a breath analysis three times over the legal limit following a birthday party at a friends house. Source: Facebook.

REPEAT OFFENDER: Panel beater blows three times limit

MOST panel beaters are known for repairing scrapes, dings and scratches on cars – not causing them.

But that’s exactly what Kingaroy business owner and panel beater Dean Wallace Skudder did when he drove home drunk from a party in February this year.

Skudder, 48, pleaded guilty to one charge of drink driving in the Kingaroy Magistrates Court earlier this week on Monday, May 18.

Police prosecutor Pepe Gangemi told the court Skudder had attended a birthday function at a Kelvyn St address in Kingaroy on Saturday, February 8.

“At about quarter past 11 that night (11.15pm) the defendant was leaving that particular premises in his Mitsubishi, he’s backed into another vehicle causing a small amount of damage,” he said.

Upon police attending Skudder’s home address, he provided a blood-alcohol content reading slightly more than three times the legal limit (0.151 per cent) and had been without the use of his licence ever since.

Magistrate Louisa Pink said Skudder had a two-page traffic history and mentioned there were two references attesting to the business owner’s character.

Dean Wallace Skudder pleaded guilty to drink driving after providing a breath analysis three times over the legal limit following a party at a friends house. Source: Facebook.
Dean Wallace Skudder pleaded guilty to drink driving after providing a breath analysis three times over the legal limit following a party at a friends house. Source: Facebook.

Skudder’s defence lawyer Andrew Kelly from KF Solicitors told the court Skudder was originally born in New Zealand and moved to Australia with his family when he was 15.

“He moved to Kingaroy about 30 years ago in his late teens and worked as a manager of a local retail outlet for 10 years before getting into the panel beating and vehicle spray painting industry,” he said.

“He’s been in that industry for the last 20 years, working for a local repair business for nine of those and for the last 11 he’s been operating his own business out of a leased premise in Kingaroy.”

The court heard Skudder is currently suffering with a number of serious medical conditions and requires a number of procedures over the next several months.

“He’s continuing to operate his panel beating business however with the coronavirus situation there’s not a lot of driving, meaning there’s been less accidents to repair and because of this his business is suffering,” Mr Kelly said.

The court heard Skudder had been relying on friends to assist him with driving the vehicles for the business as he’s been without his licence since the incident occurred in February.

Ms Pink said she took Skudder’s early plea of guilty, his health issues and the effect the charges have had on his business into account when imposing a penalty for his high-level drink driving.

“You were convicted just a little over a year ago (in April 2019) of driving over the mid but not over the high limit and that was at 0.12, so not too much below what you’re being convicted of today,” she said.

“These two incidents suggest to me you have an issue with alcohol, given the readings you provided and if you don’t recognise that and address it you may find yourself back before the courts again.”

Ms Pink ordered Skudder pay a fine of $900, be disqualified from holding a driver’s licence for a further nine months and that an interlock device is fitted to his vehicle in order to have his licence reinstated.

A conviction was recorded.