Painter's brush with the law

A MULLUMBIMBY painter who told police he drank just two glasses of champagne at a wedding was more than three times over the legal limit when blood tested.

Daryl Cheong, 53, pleaded guilty in the Lismore Local Court yesterday to high-range drink-driving after registering a blood/alcohol reading of 0.175 when caught by police at Nambucca Heads just after midnight on May 16.

Police watched Cheong driving a white Jeep Cherokee as he left the Nambucca Heads RSL Club car park by driving over a concrete parking barrier then reversing before driving up and over a footpath.

As they followed Cheong’s Jeep was seen to brake very late at a corner before weaving on to the incorrect side of the road over double unbroken lines.

When highway police switched on their car’s blue flashing lights Cheong stopped his Jeep in the middle of an intersection.

Cheong pleaded for the court not to disqualify him from driving because he needed his licence for his painting and decorating business.

He told Magistrate R Denes that after attending the wedding he drove his wife and children back to a motel before deciding to rejoin the wedding party about 400m away.

“I didn’t think. I jumped into my car and drove,” he said. “I’m sorry, I can’texplain why I did drive.”

Ms Denes noted his plea for leniency, but told Cheong police noticed him because of the manner of his driving. She said it was a high reading and 12 months was the automatic minimum she could disqualify him for.

While taking into account Cheong had done the Traffic Offenders Program, she noted he had a prior drink-driving conviction some years before.

She fined Cheong $1000 and disqualified him for 12 months from the date of the offence.

Ms Denes also warned Cheong that he must contact the RTA about his licencerenewal before returning to the road.

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