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- Unreported Judgment
Walsh v Commissioner of Police QDC 273
DISTRICT COURT OF QUEENSLAND
Walsh v Commissioner of Police  QDC 273
WILLIAM GEORGE WALSH
COMMISSIONER OF POLICE
Application to remove absolute disqualification
District Court at Brisbane
30 October 2015 ex tempore
30 October 2015
VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC – LICENSING OF DRIVERS – OFFENCES – whether the applicant is entitled to a removal of the absolute disqualification of the applicant’s driver’s licence
Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 (Qld) s 131
Mr S Trewavas (solicitor) for the applicant
Ms D Brown (legal officer) for the respondent
Creevey Russell Lawyers for the applicant
Public Safety Business Agency for the respondent
- HIS HONOUR: This is an application pursuant to section 131 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 for an order that the absolute disqualification of the applicant from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence be removed. The applicant is 58 years of age, having been born on 30 December 1956. He was absolutely disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence in the District Court at Brisbane on 10 July 1992. On that occasion, he was dealt with by the Court for the offence of dangerous driving, which he committed on the 1st of December 1991. In addition to be being sentenced to imprisonment for 18 months to be cumulative on his present sentence, he was absolutely disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence.
- Subsection (2) of section 131 of the Act provides that where a person has been disqualified absolutely, he may, at any time after the expiration of two years from the start of the disqualification period, apply for the disqualification to be removed. Subsection (2C) of section 131 provides that it is within the discretion of the Court as it thinks proper, having regard to the character of the person disqualified and the person’s conduct subsequent to the order, the nature of the offence and any other circumstances of the case, to remove the disqualification as from such date as may be specified in the order or refuse the application.
- The nature of the offence has been deposed to by the applicant. On the 1st of December 1991, he was with a friend and they were in the Wacol area. His friend had driven the vehicle to the prison, and then the applicant drove the vehicle away from the prison. However, at one stage, he was stationary at the prison when a person came up to him and asked him to pull the keys out of the ignition to get out of the car. As soon as that occurred, he drove off. And he subsequently found out the person who approached him was a plainclothes police officer. The consequence was that there was a police chase. It ended peacefully, although, during the chase, the applicant was speeding and disobeying numerous road rules. He got to a dead-end road and got out of the car and sat by the road. He was apprehended without violence. No property or people were damaged. I accept, as he states, that he is extremely remorseful for the way he acted on the 1st of December 1991. By my calculations, he was, at the time, 35 years of age.
- Notwithstanding the commission of that offence, it is clear from his affidavit material that although there are some blemishes with respect to his criminal history since this event and also his traffic history since this event, by and large, he has been working very hard and supporting his wife and family. He has obtained a number of certificates that assist him to work on his farm. What can be seen from the evidence is that, although he may have had some criminal history that was serious before this event, since this event, he has only committed what I would call two minor offences, one being a possession of drugs and the other being not securing weapons. He has been dealt with appropriately by the Magistrate for that offending. Otherwise, he’s not committed any criminal offences since 14 years ago. His traffic history, though, shows that after this event he did commit further offences of driving whilst disqualified. He was dealt with in the Warwick Magistrates Court and the Ipswich Magistrates Court in 1993 and 1996 for those offences. Again, the facts indicate that they were of minor nature.
- He has also been sober for 13 years. He’s been with his wife for 25 years, and they have been married for 15 years. They have a 25 year old daughter, who they look after. He has unfortunately suffered a back injury, which has limited his work. But he is coming good now and wants to get back into work. He has character references, which show that people who have known him for the past 15 years attest to his good character and strong work ethic.
- As I said, one of those previous offences for driving whilst disqualified are minor. He was taking his wife to hospital on one occasion, because she was undertaking cancer treatment. One can understand him electing to drive on that occasion. The second one of that unlicensed and disqualified driving, again, he simply parked his car at a stop bay. He was trying to fix up the headlights and test them to see if they were working after having had a collision with a kangaroo. His wife had been the driver, but he merely drove the vehicle to test the lights. A policeman came along to help him, but the consequence was that the policeman recognised that he did not have a licence. So, consequently, all these circumstances that I mention show that the applicant, to my mind, has been doing well to rehabilitate himself since his serious conduct predating the absolute disqualification and on the day of committing the offence that led to his disqualification.
- He needs his licence because he thinks his health is good enough now to try and work again. He would find it difficult to obtain employment, and I accept that is so. I mentioned the references. He’s got work offered to him. He and his wife want to start a courier business, and he would need his licence to participate in that business. He wants to also participate in society. He has a farm and lives on the farm. The use of public transport is not a viable option. He’s learnt his lessons from the past. He says he feels he has paid his dues, not having had a licence for the past 23 years. I agree.
- While caution should be exercised in returning the privilege of a licence to someone like the applicant, I have come to the view that he qualifies for the removal of the disqualification in all the circumstances of this case. Therefore, I order the disqualification of the applicant absolutely from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence on 10 July 1992 be removed from 30 October 2015. Have I got the date right, Mr Trewavas, as to when the disqualification was imposed?
- MR TREWAVAS: 10th of July 1992. Yes, your Honour.
- HIS HONOUR: Yes. 10 July 1992. So that’s the order. I order the disqualification of the applicant absolutely from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence on 10 July 1992 be removed from 30 October 2015.
- MR TREWAVAS: Thank you, your Honour.
- HIS HONOUR: Any other orders?
- MR TREWAVAS: No, your Honour.
- HIS HONOUR: No. Anything you want to say, Ms Brown?
- MS BROWN: No. Nothing further. Thank you, your Honour.
- HIS HONOUR: Yes. Thank you.
- MS BROWN: Thank you.
- HIS HONOUR: No need to wait on the line, then.
- Published Case Name:
William George Walsh v Commissioner of Police
- Shortened Case Name:
Walsh v Commissioner of Police
 QDC 273
30 Oct 2015