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Cannabis charge tip of the iceberg

Six grams of cannabis landed Nathan Robert Eldridge in jail for at least three months.
Six grams of cannabis landed Nathan Robert Eldridge in jail for at least three months.

SIX grams of cannabis was enough to tip the scales of justice against Nathan Robert Eldridge and land him in jail for at least three months.

But Eldridge, 20, of Grafton, had already had his chance to redeem himself, Grafton Local Court heard last week.

He was convicted last July of leading police through Ballina streets on a dangerous car chase and narrowly avoiding oncoming vehicles.

For these offences, committed on August 31, 2010, Eldridge was handed a nine-month suspended jail sentence on the provision that he be on good behaviour.

Less than four months after his suspended sentence, on November 11 last year, Eldridge was boarding a bus at Grafton train station when a small plastic bag containing vegetable matter fell from his pocket.

The station master picked up the bag and called police.

When questioned by the station master in front of police, Eldridge admitted to owning the six grams of cannabis and told police he grew it.

Magistrate David Heilpern enforced the previously suspended nine-month jail sentence on Monday with a non-parole period of three months.

In the August 2010 offence, Eldridge's driving came under the notice of police on the Pacific Hwy, Ballina and they attempted to pull him over on Bangalow Rd.

Ignoring the flashing lights and police high beams, Eldridge sped off eastbound on Cherry St and police activated the sirens.

On the turn into Bentinck St, Ballina, police said Eld- ridge's car slid out from the rear and fishtailed uncontrollably. In the following 300 metres he travelled between 130kmh and 145kmh in a 60kmh zone.

Turning left into Hill St, police said Eldridge overtook a vehicle across double unbroken lines as he crossed the Hill St Bridge.

On Links Ave, East Ballina, police said Eldridge again crossed double unbroken lines, this time before a crest where oncoming cars were difficult to see.

Police said Eldridge narrowly avoided hitting an oncoming car and the chase was terminated.

Court papers do not make it clear how Eldridge was apprehended but he later told police he'd had four alcoholic drinks before the chase. He told police he'd never held a licence and he had had about 20-30 hours of "paddock driving" experience.

The court also ordered Eldridge to compensate his former girlfriend to the tune of $2756 for the damage he inflicted to her car in a drunken rage on November 11, 2010. Eldridge had climbed on top of the woman's car and damaged the roof and boot panels in a domestic dispute.

 

Birthday off the road

THERE might have been a few details missing when Paul Alexander Bagnall told police he'd had only three cans of beer in the two-and-a-half hours before he was pulled over on October 30 last year.

Bagnall, 44, of Whiteman Creek, was caught driving with 0.178 blood alcohol content (high range) when stopped by police for a random breath test in Bligh St, South Grafton about 8pm on the night.

As a result Bagnall will celebrate his 45th birthday later this month without a licence.

Bagnall, who was also convicted of mid-range PCA in 1994, was fined $300, disqualified from driving for 18 months and was ordered to complete a Forum Sentencing Intervention Plan including attending counselling for alcohol abuse in Grafton Local Court last week.

Topics:  cannabis, court, nathan robert eldridge


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