A SUSPENDED driver, found to have caused an accident earlier this year, told the court financial stress was to blame for his predicament.
Facing charges of driving whilst suspended and negligent driving, James Fernandes, 58, explained that his licence had been suspended after he failed to pay a traffic fine.
But even though he knew this, he still drove on Australia Day in Coffs Harbour.
The local court heard he slowed at the intersection of Marcia and Grafton streets shortly after 10am and ran a red arrow colliding with another vehicle.
Police arrived at the scene and both drivers returned negative breath tests.
Licence checks found Fernandes should not have been at the wheel.
The magistrate acknowledged this in handing down a 12 month licence disqualification.
Fernandes was also fined a total of $900 on both offences and ordered to pay court costs.