A YOUNG boy pleaded with police not to throw his drunk father behind bars after he was caught driving his inebriated dad home.
Peter John Sivewright, 42, was banned from driving for 21 months after pleading guilty in Southport Magistrates Court to dangerously operating a car and drink-driving.
The court heard the Lismore man had suffered the loss of his wife, parents, grandmother and several friends in the months leading up to the incident.
Police prosecutor Bob Falconer said police spotted a Ford Falcon driving along The Esplanade at Surfers Paradise without its headlights on June 21.
After noticing a small person behind the wheel police officers pulled the vehicle over about 3am.
Mr Falconer said police opened the driver's side door to find a young boy in the seat crying hysterically .
The child told police: "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, please don't take me and my dad to jail".
Sivewright, who was in the passenger seat, confessed to police he let his seven-year-old son drive about 4km from The Spit to the Hilton Hotel.
The father and son were on a holiday on the Gold Coast.
Mr Falconer said Sivewright later recorded a blood alcohol level of 0.205, four times the legal limit.
Magistrate Paul Johnstone referred to a psychological report that showed Sivewright had recently lost those closest to him.
"I accept...within a short period of time you have been devastated and traumatised by the loss of your wife, both parents, grandmother and several close friends," he said. "...and this had led you on a downward spiral into alcoholism."
Magistrate Johnstone disqualified Sivewright from holding a licence for 21 months and placed him on two years probation.
He said if Sivewright did not have extraordinary circumstances he would have faced jail time.
Outside court, Mr Boss reflected on the impact the deaths of friends and family had on Sivewright.
"There have been a significant number of deaths of people who were close to him inclusive of family members, in his life," he said.
"That's why I say if anyone here was in those circumstances you don't know how you would react."