Driver’s last chance

AN unlicensed driver twice caught behind the wheel in just over a month has been warned a further infringement will result in jail.

Fijian national Iosefa Lemeki Veiqaravi was banned from driving for 18 months until October last year but was intercepted by police in July and again in August when he was seen travelling the wrong way on Deakin Avenue.

The Mildura Magistrates’ Court was told that on the first occasion, Veiqaravi was intercepted in Eleventh Street when it was revealed that his probationary licence had been disqualified in April 2017.

Veiqaravi told police he was aware of the status of his licence.

But just five weeks later, he was seen driving the wrong way on Deakin Avenue between Fourteenth and Fifteenth streets about midnight forcing a motorist to veer in order to avoid a collision.

Police activated lights and sirens and Veiqaravi moved onto the correct side of the road when he was intercepted.

The court was told the 34-year-old refused a police request for a breath test, but he admitted drinking a six-pack of beer after work.

Defence counsel Hugh Middleton said his client had drank a few beers at home after work while waiting for his partner to arrive and decided to drive to McDonald’s to get a meal.

Mr Middleton said that while the offending was serious, he asked Magistrate Pauline Spencer to impose a Community Corrections Order, suggesting Veiqaravi could do community work on weekends.

Ms Spencer said the man’s repeat offending was risking a period of incarceration.

“Why does this keep happening ... putting him at risk of prison?” she asked.

“You’re really putting yourself in a hole here ... you’re getting yourself in a big mess.”

Veiqaravi was placed on an eight-month Community Corrections Order to perform 100 hours of community work.

“Next time this happens you’re going to jail,” Ms Spencer warned.

“You nearly went to jail today.”

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