Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Drink driving judge 'could be jailed'

Janelle Wells | ABC Online | 22 June 2011
A retired Sydney judge who wrote guidelines for sentencing drink drivers has pleaded guilty to being over the limit himself.
Former New South Wales Supreme Court judge Roderick Howie was charged with mid-range drink driving after a three-vehicle crash at Beecroft, in Sydney's north-west, on May 19.
Police say his car ran into the back of a truck about 9:30am (AEST), then crossed to the other side of Beecroft Road and hit another car.
In Ryde Local Court this morning, Howie's lawyer entered a guilty plea on his behalf, as the 61-year-old is on holidays in Japan.
Howie did send a note to the court though, saying he expected to be fined and to lose his license.
But the magistrate noted a jail sentence is also an option, saying Howie has an "unusual misapprehension about sentencing options"
He also emphasised that the former judge must be in court when he is sentenced in September.
Howie retired from the Supreme Court last year and took a position with the state's Law Reform Commission.
He is also an acting judge in the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal.
In 2004 he was on a panel of five judges in the appeals court that ruled magistrates were too lenient when sentencing in high-range drink driving cases.
"It is trite to observe that what is commonly referred to as drink driving amounts to socially irresponsible behaviour of a very significant degree," Howie said in the 2004 judgement.
"It must also be a matter of common knowledge within the public in general that it is a criminal offence to drive a motor vehicle whilst under the influence of alcohol, and that substantial penalties, including imprisonment, are available to the courts to punish those who commit the offence.
"A person who commences to consume alcohol outside his or her home must appreciate that he or she runs the risk of reaching a level of intoxication at which it is a criminal offence to drive a motor vehicle."


  1. who was the beak?

  2. Don't know. Probably the usual Magistrate there, Daniel Reiss.