Tag: drink driving
A thief used a trolley in an alleged heist of beer kegs from a local resort. And police are investigating the theft of rifles in Braitling, as well as rock throwing at an ambulance.
Territory and Federal Labor should stop playing games with road funding and the lives of Territorians. In the past 24 hours we have witnessed a lack of respect and money for supporting safe highways in the Northern Territory from Labor. Federal Minister Anthony Albanese knows full well that his dying Labor Government has provided not one single dollar for national highway upgrades in the Territory for the next five years, writes Adam Giles, NT Chief Minister.
It was apparently a normal day after the weekend before at the Alice Springs Magistrates Court, perhaps a little busier given that this was a long weekend. The word was also that there had been a recent royalty payment that had brought people into town.
The police prosecutor arrived in Courtroom Two with a trolley as big as a baby buggy, full of files. These were the fresh matters. The files in the stands on bar table were the matters already scheduled (13 domestic violence, two Smart Court, 59 criminal, and 11 Youth Court).
Half of the defendants were in the watchhouse, Magistrate John Birch was told. Only one lawyer is allowed in at a time, so there was a bottleneck with the paperwork. That was hardly surprising, said Magistrate Birch, given that there were 150 people on the list!
Defence lawyers, from Legal Aid and Aboriginal Legal Aid, milled around, attempting to bring matters on.
There was confusion over files. The court orderly was sent in search of other defence lawyers, returning to report that she couldn't find them. She also had to announce numerous non-appearances. Some of these matters were dealt with anyway ("ex parte"), the offenders convicted and fined, their files put away. Many matters were adjourned to allow time for defence lawyers to make representations to police prosecutions; others because the facts of the matter were to be contested.
In the midst of all this, some parties appeared and matters were heard – sorry tales that flesh out some of the offending behind the 'law and order' debate, tales of people, young and not so young, male and female, and their failings. On this day and for as much of the list as I observed all of the defendants were Aboriginal. This is not always the case. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
It was an opportunity to remake her life and she took it: she turned from regular heavy drinking – of up to 30 cans of full strength beer in a sitting and this since 1987 – to being sober, taking on full-time employment, progressing in her job, looking after family, aspiring to rent her own flat.
Erica Lowah was one of three to graduate from the SMART Court program last Thursday. The three are the first in Alice Springs to complete the program since its introduction in July last year.
SMART stands for “Substance Misuse Assessment and Referral for Treatment”. Sentencing of offenders with serious alcohol and/or drug problems is deferred while they undertake programs as ordered by the court. The programs are tailored to individual needs but the bottom line is total abstinence.
Ms Lowah had been charged with high range drink driving and driving while disqualified and these were not her first drink driving offences. By entering the SMART Court program, she was given a chance to avoid gaol time and to get her life back on track.
A cake was brought into the court to celebrate the achievements of the graduates. Everyone was beaming. The usual formalities, already not great in this court, dropped away. I was even allowed to get out my pocket camera and take a snap, with the quietly proud Ms Lowah agreeing to have her photo published.
Magistrate David Bamber joked with graduate Benjamin Smith that his was the first SMART Court romance: while on the program he entered and has remained in a relationship with a young woman who is also a program participant.
Mr Bamber reflected briefly on his experience of this very different court. The legislation was introduced quickly and he'd had little idea of what his role would involve. Visiting a similar court in New South Wales, he learnt that their main 'problem' was that people wanted to keep coming back, to let the court know how well they were doing. One NSW graduate had even brought his one-day-old baby to show the court's team.
The stories reveal the importance of personal relationships in this court (in contrast to other courts where the personal is suppressed). The relationships obviously have their boundaries but there is an observable genuine warmth between the court's team and the participants, especially those – not surprisingly – who respond well to the chance they've been given. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Pictured: Erica Lowah receives her SMART court graduation certificate from Magistrate David Bamber.
Police in Alice Springs arrested 39 people in the 24 hours until 7am today.
The larger than usual number of arrests was due to additional policing support provided by Operation Shiloh members.
Superintendent Matt Hollamby said 16 arrests were as a result of drink driving. Six of those were high range
"Five were arrested for aggravated assault, one for causing serious harm and six for breach of bail.
“Three people were arrested for breaching their Domestic Violence Orders and the remainder for drug and warrant related incidents.
“The scary part about this is it does not include the number of people apprehended for protective custody or issued with a Notice to Appear or Summary Infringement Notice.
"These are just the people who were charged with offences."
Police tested 188 drivers at six Random Breath Testing Stations throughout the town and surrounding areas.
“Four returned a low reading, seven a medium reading and five a high reading, the highest of those was 0.217%," says Supt Hollamby.
“Eight Summary Infringement Notices and Traffic Infringement Notices were also given and 156 litres of alcohol was destroyed.
“I continue to urge anyone who may witness suspicious behaviour, anti-social and criminal behaviour including drink drivers, to report it to Police on 131 444."
[Police media release.]