Removalist off road and out of luck

A REMOVALIST has failed to convince a judge that bad advice led him to believe he was licensed when he was caught driving disqualified - twice.

John Frederick Manning will be off the road for two years after failing to appeal his convictions in Brisbane District Court.

Mr Manning's troubles began when he was disqualified from driving for three months for making unnecessary noise and smoke and having a safe but otherwise defective vehicle in March, 2013.

His appeal against the conviction was dismissed in Queensland District Court in May, 2014.

In the two months following, Mr Manning was caught twice by police driving.

Sergeant Barry Stevens previously told Bundaberg Magistrates Court he saw Mr Manning driving down Goodwood Rd in his removal truck on June 14. While at work the following Sunday, he brought up Mr Manning's traffic history on the police computer and realised he was disqualified.

During cross-examination Mr Manning challenged Sgt Stevens and suggested he wasn't the person driving the truck but the officer disagreed.

Another police officer, Senior Constable Joshua Ellis, said he pulled Mr Manning over in his green Holden in the Bundaberg CBD on July 8.

Mr Manning told the court he had checked with the acting magistrate who handled his original charges and someone at the Department of Transport, and both had told him he was able to drive.

He was disqualified from driving for the mandatory two years but not further punished.

He appealed once again on the grounds it was wrong for the magistrate to convict him when he had accepted the evidence that he did not know he was unlicensed.

He also claimed he had not driven for the original three months and the fact that he was required not to drive for the three months after his appeal dismissal amounted to "double punishment".

In releasing his decision this week, Judge Brian Devereaux said it appeared Mr Manning had overcome "serious obstacles to be self-employed for a long time" but that his apparent belief that he was entitled to drive was a "mistake of law, not fact".

"The acting magistrate clearly sympathised with Mr Manning," Judge Devereaux said

"If in all the circumstances the result, which sees Manning without a licence for two years seems unreasonable, that is the result of the mandatory sentencing provision."


Topics:  disqualified driver district court appeal

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