Alexander Stewart tour boat.
Alexander Stewart tour boat. Contributed

Drunken skipper sails to jail after throwing gherkin at police

A WHITSUNDAY skipper who made national news for leaving his passengers and crew at Whitehaven Beach will spend the next three months behind bars.

Anthony Laurence Boegheim was brought to the Proserpine Magistrate's Court on Monday from Rockhampton's Capricornia Correctional Centre, where he had spent 99 days.

The Master 5 skipper pleaded guilty to charges of committing a public nuisance offence, failing to comply with police requirements to stop a commercial vessel, failing to supply a specimen of breath and drink-driving while disqualified by a court.

Boegheim's legal pickle began at 12.10am on October 26, when he threw part of a McDonald's burger at an unmarked police car.

Police prosecutor Elizabeth Cassells said officers were sitting in the car in the Airlie Beach CBD when they heard a thud and saw Boegheim holding a burger from the passenger seat of a white utility heading north.

On inspecting their car, they found a smear of sauce and a pickle stuck to the body work behind the driver's side door.

Just four days later on October 30, police were informed that the crew and passengers of the tourist vessel the Alexander Stewart had been left at Hill Inlet on Whitehaven Beach, due to the alleged intoxication of the skipper.

The passengers and crew were brought back to the mainland on another vessel and police went looking for the Alexander Stewart. Boegheim was found at the helm of the boat, steering in a north-easterly direction at about 6-8 knots.

Police pulled alongside him calling for him to stop, but Ms Cassells said he looked at them, looked away and continued on.

A short time later, police managed to board and stop the vessel. They noticed that Boegheim had bloodshot eyes and smelled of alcohol but he refused to be breathalysed.

Ms Cassells said that prior to these events, Boegheim was disqualified from driving for 12 months and was also placed on a suspended sentence for the dangerous operation of a vehicle while adversely affected by an intoxicating substance.

On November 18, only a short time after appearing in court, he was caught driving in Cannonvale with a reading of 0.218.

He was then remanded in custody and has remained there since.

Defence solicitor Antoinette Morton said on the day of the marine offence, Boegheim had an argument with a member of his crew.

She said he was "frustrated and somewhat angered" and behaved in a manner that was out of character.

Magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist described Boegheim's behaviour as obnoxious and toxic.

He said the incident with the gherkin was "a trivial offence that set off a chain of [offending] that could have been avoided".

"You brought yourself to the attention of police and then carried on in a way that can only be described as disturbing," he said.

For the public nuisance offence, Boegheim was fined $330 and for the failure to comply with the police direction to stop he received a $550 fine.

The suspended sentence was activiated and for this, plus the balance of the offences, he was sentenced to a total period of 24 months imprisonment.

Boegheim was disqualified from driving for four years and he lost his marine licence for 12 months.

A parole release date was set for June 30, 2014.


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