Grafton Court House
Grafton Court House Caitlan Charles

Drink driver's refusal to blow punished

IT WAS sixth time unlucky for one Grafton drink driver who was so impaired he was unable to turn his car off when stopped by police in July this year.

Geoffrey Cowan pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in Grafton Local Court on Monday.

According to police facts, officers were called to a property at Westlawn on July 1 at 5pm after reports Cowan was seen driving a blue Hyundai and being abusive to neighbours.

When officers arrived, Cowan was told to return to his house while police spoke to neighbours, who expressed concern over the 68-year-old's behaviour and habit of driving while drunk.

Police left at 5.05pm but less than 10 minutes later officers received a call to say Cowan had left his house in his car, which was later seen in the Clock Tower Hotel car park.

When Cowan left the hotel at 6.35pm and got into the drivers seat police followed the car onto Pound St and attempted to intercept him but lost sight of him in traffic.

When officers caught up to Cowan on Eggins St and drove across the front yard, Cowan hastily parked at a 90 degree angle across the driveway and turned off the headlights, but left the engine running.

Police smelt alcohol when they approached and noticed Cowan was unable to coherently form a sentence when questioned. Cowan attempted to turn the car off but turned the ignition key to on while the motor was still running, and grew frustrated when attempts to put the automatic transmission into park failed.

Eventually he exited the car when police requested him to submit to a breath test. Cowan refused and said "if I blow into that, I'll end up in the nick". The accused refused to submit to a breath test, and was given a court attendance notice.

In court, Cowan's representative Ms Hermann asked Magistrate K Stafford to take into account his mobility issues, and the fact the accused lives alone, and requested a minimum disqualification period.

However Magistrate Stafford was not moved, citing Cowan's five previous drink driving convictions during sentencing.

"Given his record I feel he is a bit beyond a good behavious bond," she said.

Cowan was handed a seven month suspended sentence and a 12 month driving disqualification.

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