Five-year driving ban but no jail time for serial offender
A WARWICK man will be off the road for five years and eight months after repeatedly being caught driving after his licence had been disqualified by the courts.
Zach Griffith Coles-Seerden pleaded guilty to eight charges including three counts of driving while disqualified by a court order, two counts of contravening police direction and one count each of drug driving, possessing drug utensils and failing to take proper care of a syringe.
Lawyer Clare Hine said the charges had been racked up while Coles-Seerden was going through a rough time.
The court heard he had been having difficulties with his girlfriend's former partner, while his own relationship with his girlfriend was also going through ups and downs.
The three driving offences happened in August and December last year, then March this year.
Mrs Hine said on one of the occasions, Coles-Seerden drove because he received a phone call from a distressed teenage cousin, while on another he was moving the car to give his children more room to play in their yard.
"He says he drove out with the intention to reverse back into the garden to give children extra space,” Mrs Hines said.
During a house raid in September, police uncovered a bong and syringe.
Mrs Hine said Coles-Seerden was taking steps to clean up his act, he'd been drug-free for four weeks and had recently been offered a job.
The "devoted family man” also helped out with a junior football team, she said.
Mrs Hine asked Acting Magistrate Robert Walker not to jail the Warwick man.
"It's my ultimate submission that you would consider giving the defendant immediate parole release,” she said.
Police prosecutor Ken Wiggan disagreed, arguing Coles-Seerden's significant history coupled with the three new driving charges should earn him time behind bars.
During sentencing, Acting Magistrate Walker told Coles-Seerden had put himself in real jeopardy of jail time.
"The offence of disqualified driving is viewed seriously by the courts for a number of reasons including that it demonstrates a clack of regard for the order of the court...it could be said that it shows contempt for the order of the court,” Mr Walker said.
"Driving unlicensed raises significant issues of road safety and you represent... a danger to yourself and other road users.”
Mr Walker acknowledged the Warwick man's recent attempts to make positive changes in his life and the references who spoke highly of him.
Coles-Seerden was sentenced to six months' jail with immediate parole.
He was also disqualified from driving for five years and eight months.