Dance instructor’s bad drunken behaviour

A PROFESSIONAL dance instructor waiting for COVID-19 restrictions to ease in Melbourne so he can go to a job in the Victorian city, has been sentenced for drunken behaviour.

Howard George Williams, 31, pleaded guilty on July 9 in Rockhampton Magistrates Court to one count of consuming alcohol in a public place and contravening police direction.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Peter Rumford said police were called to the Fitzroy River bank near the Boathouse Restaurant to reports of two females fighting near the barbecues.

He said the defendant was an associate of the fighting females and he told police he tried to break up the fight.

Snr Constable said Williams, who smelt strongly of liquor and had slurred speech, was in possession of an almost full wine bladder.

He said the defendant told police other people were drinking in the area so he didn't think it was a problem.

Snr Constable said Williams declined repeatedly to give police his name and address when asked.

Williams was arrested and taken to the watchhouse.

Defence lawyer Brendan Gimbert said Williams was receiving JobSeeker payments but had a job lined up in Melbourne teaching dance, including cultural dance, but it had been delayed due to the COVID-19 spike.

He said Williams had 'minor' criminal history and requested no criminal conviction be recorded, however, Magistrate Jeff Clarke pointed out this would be the fourth time Williams had that benefit.

Mr Gimbert again made the request, based on the possibility a conviction recorded may impact Williams' ability to gain employment.

He said Williams had been practising abstinence from alcohol.

Mr Clarke said the past three entries on Williams' record were for public nuisance either in or near licensed premises.

"It's becoming a yearly thing," he said after pointing out those past three entries were dated 2018, 2017 and 2016.

Mr Clarke ordered Williams to pay $500 in fines and no conviction was recorded, but warned it would be the last time for no conviction.

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