Moura man towed children through town on back of boat
TWO children, one only three years old, were unrestrained in the back of a boat being towed on a busy road at Cooloola Cove, Gympie Magistrates Court has been told.
“Thank goodness nothing happened to those children,” Gympie magistrate Ross Woodford said after hearing that the children’s father was intoxicated in the passenger seat of the tow vehicle, being driven by a man who had also been drinking.
That man, who had agreed to drive the family group home after a crabbing expedition, had registered positive for alcohol when tested by police, but that matter had been dealt with separately, the court was told last week.
Craig Lawrence Walton, 35, a Moura-based rigger, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving in circumstances which Mr Woodford described as “unusual”.
Police told the court the officer who pulled up the vehicle, found two children, 9 and 3, in a boat “with the crab pots” being towed on a trailer, when they pulled Walton up.
Walton had told police he was driving because his mate, the father of the children, was intoxicated.
Police told the court the incident occurred about 9.45pm on December 11 last year, when they noticed a child, the nine-year-old, sitting up in a boat being towed at low speed.
The child saw police and “hit the deck of the boat to avoid detection,” the court was told.
The tow vehicle was not fitted with a car seat for the three-year-old, police said.
The children’s mother was extremely angry at her husband when the children were returned to their home.
The court was told the children could easily have climbed out of the boat and might even have been killed on the length of higher speed roadway where the incident was detected.
Walton had taken the decision to drive because of the alcohol affected state of the children’s father.
He had queried the children being in the boat but the father had said it was all right, the court was told.
He had been helping the family check on crab pots and was on a return journey to drop the family at home, before returning to his own home.
Walton’s legal representative told the court Walton had two children and a $780 a fortnight mortgage.
He was highly likely to lose his $80,000 a year job as a result of losing his licence, the court was told.
“He is very remorseful and won’t do it again,” the lawyer said.
Mr Woodford remarked that the circumstances were “unusual,” as he considered his sentence.
He fined Walton $750, with no conviction recorded, and disqualified him from driving for six months.