Tooth pain caused disqualified driver to reoffend

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Judge Dominic Dravitzki found particular reason not to further disqualify a man caught driving while disqualified when he appeared in Timaru District Court on Thursday.  (File photo)

JOHN BISSET/Stuff

Judge Dominic Dravitzki found particular reason not to further disqualify a man caught driving while disqualified when he appeared in Timaru District Court on Thursday. (File photo)

A South Canterbury man caught driving while disqualified escaped another disqualification when evidence came to Timaru District Court that he only did so to get dental treatment from ’emergency.

Ra Rodney Robertson also avoided confiscation of his vehicle for the violation committed on the Timaru-Temuka Freeway (State Highway 1) on July 26, 2021, after filing “special reasons” applications with the court.

Robertson’s sentencing appearance before Judge Dominic Dravitzki on Thursday for driving while disqualified for a third or more time heard that when he was stopped by police he immediately provided information that he was a disqualified driver.

“You immediately explained that you needed to go to an emergency dental appointment and no one else was with you,” Judge Dravitzki said.

Judge Dravitzki said he had affidavit evidence from Robertson and his partner and independent confirmation from the dentist that the defendant “needed to attend to the situation to the extent that you woke up during the day with severe dental pain”.

“You made a number of efforts to find alternative means of transport, but none succeeded, and you made the decision to drive.

“You attended the dental appointment, received the emergency treatment, which was independently corroborated with confirmation of the need to have the treatment.

“You then made a number of efforts to get someone to drive you home, again none were successful, and you drove under those circumstances.”

Judge Dravizki admitted “that the facts constitute special reasons” adding that “in these circumstances, I think it is appropriate not to oppose this request”.

Regarding the confiscation of the vehicle, Judge Dravitzki said that there would be extreme hardship if the vehicle was confiscated while the defendant lived in a rural area, without public transportation and that the extreme hardship would extend to his wife and her children.

“I will not impose a disqualification and confiscate your vehicle…these are very unusual circumstances for this conduct.”

Judge Dravizki fined Robertson $500 and sentenced him to 80 hours of community service. He also confirmed that there was no longer any disqualification under Section 81 of the Land Transport Act as it would cause extreme hardship to the defendant and his family.

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