An Estonian tourist who provided false details to police and allowed a conviction to be recorded against his friend has avoided jail.
Risto Izak, 25, was stopped by police about 1.20pm on October 2 on Weber Plains Road in Kununurra. He blew a blood alcohol reading in excess of 0.08 per cent.
He gave police the name and date of birth of a friend, he used the same details when he was taken back to the police station and photographed and fingerprinted.
When served a summons, Izak submitted an endorsed plea of guilty.
In November, the matter was heard in his absence and a fine of $650 and eight-month disqualification was recorded in his friend’s name.
After his friend discovered the deception, Izak went to the police and admitted he had lied. He was charged with attempting to pervert justice.
In the Kununurra District Court this morning, Izak’s lawyer Lucy Young told the court her client had panicked and the offence was not premeditated.
Izak had been concerned police would impound his car and had provided his friend’s details in the belief he had gone overseas, she said. He had since paid the fine.
“At the time he did it, he did not appreciate the seriousness of what he was doing … he thought the conviction would not affect his friend,” Ms Young said. “He describes this offence as ‘the biggest mistake I ever made’.”
The court heard Izak’s two-year working visa had expired in April and he was saving for a ticket home.
Ms Young said Izak had never been in trouble with the law before and was “ashamed and anxious” at the prospect of jail.
He had hoped to find sponsored work and remain in Australia but he now accepted that was unlikely.
Barrister Sean O’Sullivan, acting for the State Prosecutor, said Izak’s initial offending may have been a moment of panic but his persistence was a problem.
Judge Michael Bowden commended Izak for co-operating with police but conceded he had done so only after the “game was up”.He sentenced Izak to 12 months prison, suspended for a year.
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