A 69-year-old man has been sentenced over two drink driving charges.
A 69-year-old man has been sentenced over two drink driving charges.

Driver a 'grave risk' to the Clarence community

A MAN who was charged with a high-range drink driving offence just days after police stopped him driving on the wrong side of the highway while drunk posed a "grave risk" to the safety of the community, a court has heard.

Robert John Kenny, 69, appeared in Grafton Local Court on Tuesday after pleading guilty to two drink driving charges, one mid-range and one high-range, and driving while suspended.

According to court documents, about 6pm on March 14 this year police received calls from the public that a vehicle was driving dangerously on the Pacific Highway at Maclean.

After arriving at the scene police found the vehicle driving on the wrong side of the road. Police stopped the vehicle and Kenny was apprehended, where he told police he had drank scotch before leaving his Grafton home to travel to Brisbane.

Kenny returned a blood alcohol reading of .145, and his licence was suspended.

Just three days later on March 17 police were called to a Grafton property following reports a vehicle had reversed over rocks. When police arrived they found Kenny at the scene, and appeared intoxicated. A breath analysis returned a reading of .215, and Kenny was unable to tell police how much alcohol he had consumed.

During the sentencing magistrate Kathy Crittenden said in the first offence Kenny's driving posed a "grave risk" to other members of the community.

"The highway is known for fatalities and driving in that condition is of a grave concern for the court," Ms Crittenden said.

"These types of offences are very common and catastrophic consequences can come from them. It's also a grave concern that three days after the first offence a second offence of a similar nature is committed.

"Community safety is a paramount concern of the court, and it's a very big issue that your actions posed a great risk to other road users."

Ms Crittenden noted that Kenny had taken steps to address his alcohol abuse and said she was satisfied that while a term of imprisonment was necessary, it could be served in the community.

Kenny was convicted and sentenced to an intensive corrections order for 18 months, which included directions to abstain from alcohol, attend rehabilitation and driver education programs.

Kenny was disqualified from driving for nine months, and placed on an interlock device for 24 months after the expiration of the disqualification period.