Monday, July 14, 2008

Jail for record nine times over limit

A woman driver who registered a blood alcohol limit limit of  0.462 - the highest recorded by a female in Australia and more than nine times Victoria's legal limit - has been released on bail after appealing a six-month jail term.
Heather-Ann Higgins pleaded guilty in Frankston Magistrates Court this morning to one count of reckless conduct endangering life and one count of drink driving.
Magistrate Ross Betts struck out five charges before sentencing Higgins. Magistrate Betts also disqualified Higgins' drivers' license for five years from April.
He said if she had not pleaded guilty, he would have jailed her for 12 months.
"This is serious offending which in my opinion calls for a harsh penalty, Magistrate Betts said.
"Motor vehicles in the hands of drink drivers are lethal weapons capable of death and serious injury, and sadly that is the tragic occurrence on our roads on a frequent basis."
Magistrate Betts said drink driving involved "criminal conduct of a grave nature" which risked the lives of other road users.
Higgins was in tears as she was led into custody at the end of the hearing.
Shortly afterwards, her lawyer John Marquise returned to court to appeal the sentence.
Higgins then stood in the dock composed as Magistrate Betts released her on bail, on the condition that she not drive, pending her appeal to be heard in the County Court on October 30.
Higgins, 49, from Somers allegedly told police she consumed six cans of a vodka-based mixed drink shortly before she hit a tree and rolled her car in Moorooduc, on the Mornington Peninsula, on February 15. She later said she had drunk up to another four cans earlier that day.
She had driven from her home in Somers to Stump Gully Road in Moorooduc, where she pulled over and drank the six-pack.
Fifteen minutes later, after throwing the empty cans in the back, she veered onto the wrong side of the road, struck an embankment and trees, and rolled her Toyota hatchback a number of times.
An initial breath-test by police at the accident scene indicated she had been drinking.
A blood sample taken at Frankston Hospital, where she was treated for minor injuries, revealed a blood alcohol reading of 0.462, more than nine times over the legal limit of 0.05.
When asked by police why she had been drinking and driving, she replied: "I was being terribly irresponsible".
The court heard Higgins, a mother of five, was a severe alcoholic with two prior drink driving convictions.
Mr Marquise said Higgins had battled alcoholism, breast cancer, depression and and anxiety and was remorseful about her actions.


Latest Posts

Latest Comments