Moura man towed chil­dren through town on back of boat

Central Telegraph - - NEWS -

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.

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