Drunk driver found 'glassy eyed, slurring speech'
A MAN has narrowly avoided actual jail time after pleading guilty to his third driving under the influence offence in five years.
Mark Antony Mason, 46, was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment with immediate parole, to hang over his head for two years, after pleading guilty in Toowoomba Magistrates Court to the single charge.
The court heard Mason was seen reversing a green Subaru from the Raceview Tavern carpark in Yamanto, with two cans of alcohol on the boot, about 10.50pm on December 31 last year.
He then drove 30kmh under the 50kmh speed limit, swerving across the lane, before he was intercepted by police.
Prosecutor Rohan Brewster-Webb said Mason had glassy eyes and slurred speech behind the wheel, and returned a reading of 0.190 per cent at the police station about 11.25pm.
Mr Brewster-Webb said Mason had two previous convictions for UIL in the past five years, and submitted a period of imprisonment was appropriate under the circumstances, as well as a minimum two year licence disqualification as a penalty.
Solicitor Nathan Bouchier, for Mason, said while the previous convictions were accepted, they occurred more than four years ago and aside from a red light offence, his client had recorded no other incidents since that time.
Mr Bouchier said his client's past offending was at a time when things "spiralled out of control" after family members were killed in a traffic crash in 2010.
He said Mason suffered serious injuries to his hand in 2013 which required several surgeries in hospital and, by 2014, he had gone bankrupt and lost the business he owned and ran, which had employed several people.
Mr Bouchier said after the second UIL charge and while on parole, Mason had gotten his licence back and rebuilt his life, starting another business which employed two people.
On the night in question, Mr Bouchier said Mason had left the unit he shared with a former friend after threats were made against his safety and, once at the pub, had arranged to stay with another friend.
However, he said Mason accepted that was no excuse for driving.
Acting Magistrate Roger Stark told Mason it was lucky he hadn't killed or seriously injured someone on the roads when driving from the pub that night.
Convictions were recorded.