Mayor Karen Williams has been sentenced to 80 hours of community service for drink driving charges.
The Redland politician also had her licence disqualified for six months at Cleveland Magistrates Court.
No conviction was recorded against her. This is despite her colliding with tree.
Sentencing for Drink Driving Charges
Karen Williams was charged with high range drink driving after returning a blood alcohol reading over three times the limit.
The court heard that her vehicle crossed four lanes of traffic and then entered a ditch, before colliding with a tree.
Police breath tested her which returned a reading of 0.177, which is well into the high range. The court was told that she consumed four glasses of wine prior to driving.
In sentencing Mayor Karen Williams for drink driving charges, Magistrate Deborah Vasta said, "a small number of very hurt people who will never forgive" the Mayor.
This was a reference to a group of protesters outside the courthouse who had been campaigning for the mayor to resign since the accident.
The court received messages which showed numerous text messages sent to Mrs Williams. Some of these messages included, "very sad you didn't die in the crash" and "resign now you two faced b***h."
Magistrate Vasta said the 80 hrs of community service would help the Mayor overcome the betrayal felt by members of her community affected by drink driving.
"This case has gathered a lot of public attention, condemnation and vitriol," she said.
"It seems to me that there is a group of people who feel very betrayed by your client's actions and behaviour and who may perceive your client to be a two-faced politician who has milked their grief for her own political gain.
"It seems to me that there is a real desire to see your client punished more than the average drink driver and not just because she is mayor and should be held to a higher standard, because of what some people see as stunning hypocrisy and betrayal."
She was disqualified from driving for six months and had no conviction recorded.
Addressing the media outside the courthouse, she described the incident as a "lapse of judgement".
Despite the calls for her resignation, she said she would return to work.
"I know that I will have to work very hard to regain the trust of my community and I'm absolutely committed to doing that. I will never put my family, my friends, my community and my council colleagues in this position again. This was a single lapse of judgement in 18 years of service to my community. I know I have hard work to do and I will regain that trust as I return to work later this week."
High Range Drink Driving Charges
Drive with high range PCA is defined as driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration between 0.150 and above.
Under Section 110(5) the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW), in order for you to be found guilty of 'High range drink driving', the prosecution must prove:
1. You were driving a vehicle;
2. You had a blood alcohol concentration above 0.015
If you are not convicted of this offence, you will avoid a disqualification. However, since the Guideline Judgement for drink driving was handed down, receiving non-convictions are exceedingly rare. For serious examples of high range drink driving, a term of imprisonment can be imposed.
Despite this there have been a number of recent examples of these charges being dismissed after an accused retains experienced drink driving lawyers in Sydney. You can read some of those cases by clicking here.
Call Astor Legal on (02) 7804 2823. Or, you can email email@example.com.
The maximum penalty for High Range Drink Driving (first offence) is 18 months imprisonment and/or a fine of $3300.
The maximum penalty for High Range Drink Driving (Second or Subsequent offence) is 24 months imprisonment and/or a fine of $5500.
The automatic disqualification for High Range Drink Driving (first offence) is 3 years.
The minimum disqualification for High Range Drink Driving (first offence) is 12 months.
The automatic interlock disqualification for High Range Drink Driving (first offence) is 9 months.
The minimum interlock disqualification for High Range Drink Driving (first offence) is 6 months.
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