IN COURT: Darren Lesley Marks.
IN COURT: Darren Lesley Marks.

Tradie blows over after brainstorming with a few beers

A BUNDABERG man has blamed dodgy car parts, his friends and a 48-hour illness for two drink driving charges and failing to appear in court.

Appearing in the Bundaberg Magistrates Court, Darren Lesley Marks pleaded guilty to the three charges, but not without explaining his side of the story.

Police intercepted the defendant on August 11, about 11.25pm, when he was driving his car on Heidke St, despite being the holder of a probationary licence at the time.

A roadside test was conducted, returning a positive reading of 0.081%, which is over the general limit, but not above mid-range.

Marks told the court that he had ordered a new car part from Western Australia and it took five weeks to arrive, but he'd had trouble with it ever since.

He said he was parked in the Stockland Shopping Centre car park at the time, when his car kept emitting black smoke, so he decided to head over to the pub and have a "brain storm" over a few beers.

When the defendant returned to his car, it was after 11pm and he felt concerned about leaving his vehicle as all the lights had gone out in that area.

So, he decided to move it to another part of the car park.

Marks said he considered hiring a driver but was concerned about the black smoke and believed he had only travelled 100m when police intercepted him.

Later that month on August 21, the defendant was again intercepted by police, where he admitted that he had consumed "a few drinks at a few places in the Bundaberg area."

The court heard police recognised a strong smell of alcohol coming from the defendant and he returned a positive alcohol reading of 0.130%.

Marks said he was with two female friends who had agreed to take him and his pet dog, who was waiting outside in the defendant's car, home.

But he said when they dropped him at his car, they reversed back out of the car park and left the defendant stranded with his dog.

The defendant said he waited for 45 minutes for his cab to arrive, but it never did and although he considered walking home, he didn't think it was a wise decision as it was close to 3am.

"I was at the Brothers Club with two lady friends of mine and they were leaving the Brothers at the time," the defendant said.

"If the ladies had have helped … I don't know what got into their minds at the time, but once again, it's one of those funny things."


IN COURT: Darren Lesley Marks.
IN COURT: Darren Lesley Marks.


Without reasonable cause, the defendant then failed to surrender into custody at the Bundaberg Magistrates Court in September and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

On October 20, police arrested Marks at his home address and he was transported to the Bundaberg watchhouse.

The defendant said he was unable to appear as he had become unwell with a "48-hour bug" and phoned the courthouse on the afternoon of his appearance to explain the circumstances.

Marks said he was told that he should have phoned the morning of his appearance, rather than the afternoon as the warrant had already been issued during court proceedings, but he said he was unable to do that as he was bed-ridden at the time.

"When the police came round looking for me, I was just about to go down and see them, so there was no intention of trying to avoid anything," he said.

The court heard the defendant has 2.5 pages of criminal history, but he had been trying to stay out of trouble for some time.

Marks told the court that work as a tradesman had been sporadic since COVID-19 started.

He said he had been planning to move to Victoria before the pandemic hit and if it wasn't for the global health crisis, this never would have happened because he would be building houses in the bush somewhere in Victoria.

Magistrate Andrew Moloney told the defendant that it was a good idea to do what he was

originally planning to do.

Marks was convicted and fined a total of $1800, disqualified from holding for obtaining a drivers licence for a total of 15 months and the convictions were recorded.

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