The West

Boozy road trip costly

A drink-driver who admitted drinking nonstop with his mates on a road trip from Perth to Albany agreed it was fair he should lose his licence for 12 months after he blew more than three times the legal limit near Mt Barker this month.

Joshua Gregory Ernest Court, 21, pleaded guilty in Albany Magistrate's Court yesterday to driving under the influence of alcohol on June 1, when he was stopped by police on Albany Highway.

Court was a passenger in the vehicle until he and the two friends he was travelling with stopped in Mt Barker and he took the wheel, the court was told.

He told police he had been drinking beer nonstop since they left Perth and he had about seven beers during the trip.

Mt Barker police stopped the Mitsubishi four-wheel-drive when a motorist reported it was swerving on Albany Highway just north of the town.

When police stopped the car, they said Court was visibly intoxicated and the car reeked of beer.

After Court failed a breath test, one of his friends offered to drive but he was also over the limit.

Defence lawyer Bruno Illari said Court, who had been working at a Dunsborough winery, was remorseful for his actions and had lost his job.

"Because this generated considerable State press, he lost his job and is now unemployed for the first time," he said.

"He's lost his job, his licence and it has impacted on his appearance of him and his family.

"He's remorseful, he doesn't understand his behaviour on the day and since this has happened he has not been drinking as he sees it as a source of trouble."

Magistrate Tanya Watt said Court was fortunate nobody was killed.

She suspended his licence for a year and fined him $1400.

"Why people were drinking in the car is beyond me," she said. "You were fortunate to be picked up by police because the amount of injuries on Albany Highway is significant and there are a lot of lives lost on country roads."

Outside court, Court's father John said his son had accepted his punishment.

"The punishment has been handed out and it was fair, he's accepted that punishment and now we'll get on with our lives," he said.

Court said he had learnt his lesson. "I wasn't thinking," he said.

The West Australian

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