Jail for man caught drink-driving four times

UPDATE 5.14PM: A MAN caught drink driving four times in two days has been jailed for six months.

Tony Benson, of Young in New South Wales, was on Thursday sentenced at Bendigo Magistrates Court to two months jail for one count of driving while disqualified and exceeding the legal blood alcohol content and four months relating to breaching his suspended sentence. 

Benson blew a BAC of 0.08 when breath tested by police just hours after receiving a suspended sentence for three drink driving offences on the same day last week.

The fourth offence occurred only a few hours after Benson faced Bendigo Magistrates Court last Thursday, where he was disqualified from driving for 18 months and received a suspended prison sentence after being caught drink driving three times the night before.

About one hour after police dropped Benson off at his car in Kangaroo Flat, Benson drove along the Loddon Valley Highway to a service station where he went to the toilet and bought a sandwich.

He stopped and bought a cask of wine from a nearby bottle shop before pulling over near Woodvale, where he was later found by police.

Defence lawyer Claire Wilkins said Benson, 47, did not initially intend to drive from Kangaroo Flat but planned to wait for his partner to collect him and drive him home to NSW.

She said because of a number of medical conditions, Benson had a "pressing need" to avoid an embarrassing accident when he was unable to locate a nearby toilet.

When advised by a nearby pedestrian the closest toilet was about four to five kilometres away, he "decided he needed to drive", Ms Wilkins said.

Benson said he only started drinking when he got to the location where he was found by police, she said.

"The key was in the ignition but he did not consume the alcohol while driving. His drink driving on this occasion was a technical offence," Ms Wilkins said.

She said Benson was an alcoholic who had been a member of Alcoholics Anonymous for about seven or eight years and recently lapsed.

Ms Wilkins said Benson was a carer for his mother, who had late stage melanoma.

She urged Magistrate David Faram to take into account Benson’s combined personal and medical conditions as exceptional circumstances.

Magistrate Faram said the law stated clear imprisonment should follow these offences and he did not accept Benson’s explanation he needed to drive to find a toilet.

He said last week's suspended sentence was a significant last chance.

"It matters not what this man’s tragic history might be," he said.

In sentencing Benson to six months imprisonment, minus the seven days he had already spent in custody, Magistrate Faram said it was “an extraordinary situation” and jail was the only option.

"Mr Benson, it is difficult to understand how you got to where you are," he said.

"I have only one option, to send you to jail."

EARLIER: A MAN who received a suspended prison term after being caught drink-driving three times in one day and then breached the sentence within hours of being released from custody has been sent to jail.

Tony Benson, of New South Wales, was this afternoon sentenced to six months imprisonment, minus seven days.

Benson was sentenced to two months for one count of driving while disqualified and exceeding the legal blood alcohol content and four months relating to his suspended sentence.

More to come.

READ EARLIER REPORTS HERE

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