Man racks up more than $5600 in unpaid traffic fines
A frustrated magistrate has given a stern warning to a repeat Central Queensland driving offender who committed another driving offence after racking up thousands of dollars in unpaid traffic fines.
Kai Duane William Sauer was pulled over on Short Street at 9pm on March 8, where police checks confirmed he was disqualified from driving for six months by Rockhampton Magistrates Court on January 29.
This incident landed him in Yeppoon Magistrates Court on April 15, where prosecutor Sergeant Shaun Janes said Sauer told police he was just dropping his girlfriend home.
When Magistrate Jason Schubert asked Sauer how much he thought he owed the State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER), he guessed $3000 to $5000.
"$5691," Magistrate Schubert said, holding up a sheet of all of Sauer's fines.
"Those amounts are consistent with those pages upon pages of your traffic history," Mr Schubert said.
The court heard of the $7923.50 in fines Sauer had accumulated, he had only paid $2231 and his last payment was on February 3, 2019.
Despite his lengthy history, Sauer had no previous entries like this incident.
Sauer accumulated nine demerit points in 2018, five in 2019, and 16 in 2020.
"Then tell me, why you were driving on this occasion?" Magistrate Schubert asked Sauer.
"Were you not clear from the court that you have a licence disqualification?"
Sauer said "yes".
Mr Schubert asked: "And what? It didn't mean anything to you?"
Sauer replied: "Yes, it was a stupid mistake.
"I got those points while I was working out west."
The now unemployed Sauer said he spent a lot of time on the road.
Magistrate Schubert said many truck drivers came to court, but being a professional was not an excuse.
"That's why people who drive a lot know how important their licence is so they drive within the speed limit," the magistrate said.
Mr Schubert said he needed to consider a fine that detered Sauer from committing further offences, but told the court he did not believe fines could do that.
Sauer said he would pay the fines, but Mr Schubert replied saying he hadn't paid anything since 2019.
"I've considered a term of imprisonment for you, and I could almost give you a guarantee with your record, if you come back with a disqualified driving charge once more, you would be sentenced to a term of imprisonment," Mr Schubert said.
"I don't know how hard this is to get through to you, that when the court tells you, you don't drive - you don't drive.
"On this occasion, I'm not, because I can only send you to jail as a sentence of last resort. "I'm telling you now, this is your second last resort."
Sauer had pleaded guilty to disqualified driving.
He was ordered to perform 50 hours of unpaid community service within six months, and given the mandatory two-year licence disqualification.
The magistrate warned Sauer that if he breached that community service order, there was only one other sentencing option apart from a fine.
"If you have a car, you need to consider getting rid of that car so you're not tempted, and also because you're waiting money because you can't drive that for at least over two years," he said.