Repeat drink-driver caught six times over limit avoids jail
A DRINK-DRIVER who blew more than six times the legal limit has narrowly avoided jail time.
Brian Mathew Clarke, aged 47, appeared at Coffs Harbour Local Court this week where he pleaded guilty to High Range PCA - the magistrate describing the reading as the highest he'd "ever seen."
On the night of April 9, Mr Clarke was driving with his headlights off at Orange when he stopped and spoken to by police.
The court heard that it had become apparent to the officers that Mr Clarke was heavily intoxicated at the wheel.
A blood alcohol reading later returned a positive result of 0.300.
"In my time as a solicitor and as a magistrate, it's the highest reading I've ever seen. It's double the High Range, and six times the legal limit," Magistrate Ian Rodgers said.
"It's obvious to say he was posing an extreme risk to other road users. His actions were incredibly dangerous."
The magistrate noted that it was the sixth time that he tradesman had appeared in court for drink-driving.
However it was argued that Mr Clarke, who is from Orange, had been taking significant steps to address his alcohol addiction and was successfully undergoing rehabilitation in Coffs Harbour.
The court heard Mr Clarke would previously have on average more than 20 drinks a daily basis.
The magistrate took into account Mr Clarke's rehabilitation efforts, noting that a jail term would force him to commence rehab right from the beginning.
"He still has a long way to go, but he is in the process of changing his life.
"I have to make sure his actions are denounced but also promote his rehabilitation."
Mr Clarke was sentenced to a 12 month term of imprisonment, served by way of an Intensive Corrections Order.
Under this order he must be supervised by Community Corrections, must remain abstinent from drugs and alcohol, and must continue to undertake a rehabilitation program.
He was also disqualified from driving for 12 months, followed by a 48 month interlock period.