Guilty plea for drink-driver

A Thai man who has overstayed his tourist visa for more than two years will be deported after pleading guilty to two drink-driving charges in the Bendigo Magistrates Court yesterday.

Charin Rakphet, 42, had been working illegally in Robinvale when he was twice caught driving more than three times the legal blood alcohol limit. Leading Senior Constable Denis Farrell said Rakphet was first intercepted in Robinvale on May 11, last year.

He said Rakphet blew a reading of 0.183 and admitted to drinking “a lot of red wine and beer”.

Rakphet never attended court to answer this drink driving charge and then on November 18, he was seen trying to avoid a breath-testing station set up in Robinvale.

Leading Senior Constable Farrell said Rakphet’s car had bunny hopped five times as he tried to turn it around.

A subsequent breath test showed Rakphet had a blood alcohol content of 0.231 per cent.

Rakphet has been in police custody since that date and his lawyer, Kate Youngson, asked for time served to be considered as punishment.

Ms Youngson said that would be the most appropriate sentence given he faced immediate deportation.

Leading Senior Constable Farrell said Rakphet had arrived in Australia on January 9, 2010, on a three-month tourist visa, first visiting Sydney then moving with his wife to Robinvale for work. 

Magistrate John Lesser accepted time served as an appropriate punishment and disqualified Rakphet from driving in Victoria for 23 months.

Rakphet, aided by an interpreter, was told that immigration would be coming to pick him up at the end of the court case.

It is believed his wife, also an illegal immigrant, will be sent home to Thailand also.

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