BY-THE-WAY OF LEGAL INTEREST
LIVING BEHIND GOD’S BACK WITHOUT A LICENCE

George is a Rep, that is a travelling salesman. He is provided a company car, a mobile phone and a GPS and asked to demonstrate and sell his company’s products all over Sydney and country NSW five long days a week and to travel about 100,000km per year doing so. He wears out a car and gets a new one every two years!

Doing this without a driver’s licence or by public transport is not really possible but if you add that he lives in a remote country area 40km from the nearest town and has a pregnant  wife 45-minutes from the nearest Ambulance Station and suddenly you are in serious trouble.

The trouble started when travelling home late on a Friday night, when George heard on the car radio that there was a bushfire in his home area. Concerned about his wife, he tried to call but could not get an answer. The area is very remote with poor mobile reception.

What do you do?

Country road with no traffic and a 100km/h limit and loads of anxiety would make most people hurry up and that is what George did. Unfortunately he was clocked at 148km/h by a Highway Patrol and had his licence suspended that day.

He didn’t mean to drive at that speed, he was just going quicker than normally because of his concern.

He was so shocked he didn’t tell the Police about his emergency and of course if he had travelled only four kilometres slower (44km versus 48km over) he would not have been suspended but would have received a speeding ticket.

In NSW you can apply to a Court to have the Suspension waived if you have “exceptional circumstances” and that is what we did so life returned to normal temporarily in that he still had a job!

Representations were made to Police to review the charge to no avail and at Court after the Magistrate heard the facts he let George off mostly because of the pregnancy issue not so much because of work licence hardship even though that would have been catastrophic also.

Looking back what could George have done differently? Sit on speed limit and find your house burnt down or worse? We are just lucky in NSW that the court has the power to do what they did here (Section 10) as in some other states in Australia they do not have that power.

Mark Stenberg

Mark Stenberg

CLOSE TO JAIL OR DEATH

I have friend Peter aged 69 who was originally a client but has become a good friend. Peter is a professional now retired with some tragedies in his life like a marriage bust up that caused him to start drinking more heavily.

He always liked his wine but the drinking got out of control in the last 10 years and that is how we met when he faced a number of High Range drink driving offences.

The final straw was in 2016 when caught Mid Range, his fourth alcohol offence. It wasn’t just the legal issues and a licence, it was also very poor health because of alcoholism and he needed full time rehab to cut the daily alcoholic cycle.

The court kept him out of jail on a Good Behaviour Bond condition that he enter residential rehab.

Amazingly we could not comply with that condition because either Peter was in hospital due to his health, falling, blacking out or drinking out of control (he told me one drink was too many, 100 were not enough…).

In the latter case he was not contactable as he didn’t want to talk to anyone. You know how it works with a Smart Phone, the perfect firewall……

He had an appointment with William Booth House, a Charity rehab months ahead to be admitted and the family “guarded” him so he could not drink but he was rejected on the morning of his admission because he was drunk! Where there was a chance to get to alcohol, Peter found it!

I, the doctors and the family were very worried about Peter dying and he looked and sounded awful, basically shouted when speaking in public, he could not manage his affairs, kept losing his phone and computer, he was on his last legs…

Probation and Parole “put him in” to the Court and we had to face a breach of Bond probably meaning jail as the court system was running out of options.

To be frank I had reached my limit and could not do much more for him but we appeared for the last time with him at court and explained the situation to the Magistrate and asked for the rehab condition to be removed from the Bond as Peter was incapable of complying with it and unexpectedly that request was granted.

I knew then that Peter was a dead man as he now could drink himself to oblivion… I said to him at court that I had given up on him and that he would die soon because he could drink himself to death… and it was a pity as we could not get together in the future (he ans I are exactly same age) for a chat or coffee…

Maybe that comment or my frank sincerity struck a chord?

Life is full of surprises but in the three months since court Peter has remained sober and looks and sounds healthy and is getting his house (which was like a bomb had hit it) and his affairs in order.

Look forward to a coffee in 2017 Peter…..

2017 KTM 1190 Adventure R

2017 KTM 1190 Adventure R, being tested by Mark Stenberg

MISCELLANEOUS RAMBLINGS
HOME, SWEET HOME

After all that travelling, it’s lovely to be home and be riding my KTM enduro bike about once a week plus a bit of work and a bit of leisure. Having finished the KTM 1190 test which I really enjoyed, I look forward to more tests in 2017.

The two week Christmas break was in a “corny” low key caravan park down the south coast of NSW with family and grand kids, swimming, bicycling, walking, kayaking and lots of BBQs, beer and wine…heaven!

Let’s live the dream and meet on the winding road or single track… and you can always contact me on mark@lawstop.com.au 0405 064 087

Mark Stenberg
Solicitor
SYDNEY

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