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Drink driver has fine reduced, but still loses driver’s licence

A truck driver who admitted drink driving without a helmet was shown mercy yesterday when the magistrate fined him half of the usual tariff for the offence.

Senior magistrate Juan Wolffe fined Vernon Eve $500 during Magistrates’ Court, but banned the 52-year-old from the roads for 18 months despite his request for further leniency.

Mr Wolffe said: “If I had the option I wouldn’t disqualify you, but I’m required by law to do so if someone admits to these types of offences.”

The court heard that police were headed eastward on Middle Road in Paget when they saw a motorcyclist ride in the opposite direction without a helmet.

Police followed the rider until they stopped him at the opening of Keith Hall Road in Warwick.

The rider, who was later revealed to be Eve, admitted that he had “a couple” of drinks and told police “I’m just trying to get home”.

He was arrested and taken to Hamilton Police Station where police ordered him to give a sample of breath for analysis.

Eve refused to give a sample of breath and said “what does it matter, it’ll tell you what you already know”.

The incident took place on November 20 last year.

Eve, from Southampton, was charged with drink driving and refusal to take a breath test, but prosecutors chose to offer no evidence for the breath test offence and the case was discharged.

He apologised for his actions and told the court that it was not his “normal character”.

Eve added: “I acknowledge that my actions could have put someone’s life at risk – I think about this every day.”

He told Mr Wolffe that needed his licence to work and provide for his family, but the magistrate said that his “hands were tied” and instead cut his fine, which is usually $1,000, in half.