Drink-driving dad was mourning COVID-19 death
A FATHER-OF-TWO involved in a drunken car crash on the Coffs Coast was grieving the death of a loved one to COVID-19, a court has heard.
Gum Mayak, aged 28, appeared in Coffs Harbour Local Court on Monday on charges of drink-driving and negligent driving in relation to the June 10 accident.
The defence told the court that on the previous evening, Mayak and his partner had gotten into a verbal argument before he received the devastating phone call from his father.
His father informed him that Mayak's uncle had passed away from COVID-19 in Sudan.
The defence then explained Mayak, who was "very close" to his uncle, had been drinking alcohol and went to sleep before his partner later woke him and the argument continued.
"He decided to leave to get away from the pressure," they said.
The facts state that in the early hours of June 10, Mayak was driving when he failed to negotiate a bend.
The vehicle left the road, travelling some distance on the grass verge before crashing into an embankment.
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A witness stopped to assist Mayak however he urged them not to contact police.
He then walked away from the scene and denied any involvement when he was stopped by police who were on their way to the collision site.
The police later returned to speak to him again when he had walked about 1km from the crash site, and he admitted his involvement.
A breath test returned a positive reading of 0.226g, and Mayak was subsequently charged with high range PCA and negligent driving.
The defence said that Mayak, who came to Australia from Sudan as a refugee over ten years ago, was remorseful and was identified as having a low risk of reoffending.
They argued the blueberry worker was of good character, and was financially supporting his mother and siblings in Sudan for schooling and food.
"In respect of the lies, he said he panicked and didn't know what to do.
"He's remorseful that he could've killed someone, or himself, on the road that morning."
In handing down his sentence, Magistrate Michael Dakin took into account a number of factors including the fact that Mayak had no criminal history.
Mayak was convicted and given a 18-month Community Corrections Order, including 100 hours of community service work.
He was also fined $400 for the negligent driving offence.