A NSW Police officer has been fined $2,000 and ordered to undergo mandatory driver interlock program, after he was detected driving with high-range PCA and had been unlicensed for 25 years.
Detective Sergeant Andrew John Clarke was off-duty when he was pulled over by a highway patrol officer in July this year at Windsor. He recorded a blood alcohol concentration of 0.170, well into the high range. This offence carries a maximum penalty of $3,300 fine and 18 months’ imprisonment for a first offence.
Magistrate Price presided over the hearing at the Downing Centre Local Court, commenting that it was ‘mind-boggling’ that the man was unlicensed, that he ‘should have known better’, and that the offence was a breach of public trust.
Clarke’s lawyer told the Court that his client was unlicensed because he had not filled out the renewal form.
That a member of the police force can drive around for 25 years without the fact of his lack of licence being known to authorities is deeply concerning. It is unlikely that a civilian would be able to achieve such a feat. It begs the question, are police officers immune to oversight by traffic police? If this is so, even more startling questions arise, such as, are police officers subjected to random breath tests? In this case, the offender’s intoxication was extreme. While media reports do not indicate whether it was the manner of driving which resulted in the traffic stop, as opposed to a random breath test, one assumes that it would be a very skilled drunk driver who could command a vehicle with 0.170 BAC and not attract the attention of police. If it were the manner of driving, one available inference is that it is only police officers who are blind drunk who are subjected to random breath tests.
Hopefully this is not the case.
Image credit: Courier Mail
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