Jail time push over drugs
MAGISTRATE WANTS HEAVY VEHICLE DRIVERS WITH METH IN THEIR SYSTEM BEHIND BARS AS HE FINES TWO
A magistrate has called for the ability to jail drivers found with methamphetamine in their system, indicating he would have done so in the case of two heavy vehicle drivers before Shepparton Magistrates’ Court.
Anthony John Napolitano pleaded guilty to failing an oral fluid test, possessing methylamphetamine along with four further charges relating to failing to record required information in his heavy vehicle log book, while in a separate matter John Cracknell pleaded guilty to failing an oral fluid test along with two failures to record information in his log book and driving for longer than the maximum permitted work time.
Magistrate Steven Raleigh told both defendants he believed failing an oral f luid test should carry a maximum penalty that includes jail time.
Currently, even those facing a third offence of that charge face fines, licence cancellations and driving disqualifications.
‘‘Every day in every court in this country magistrates are faced with heavy vehicle drivers driving with methamphetamine in their system,’’ Mr Raleigh told Cracknell.
‘‘The sooner they make it a jailable offence, the better.’’
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Gary Steel told the court Napolitano, 25, was intercepted for a compliance check at a weighbridge on the Hume Fwy near Broadford at 9 am on May 29, 2020, where a roadside oral fluid test returned a positive reading.
Police located a glass pipe and two small bags of methamphetamine in his prime mover.
Napolitano, who was driving from Port Melbourne to Lemnos, told police after his arrest he ‘‘takes methamphetamine to stay awake’’.
His lawyer Tony Sofra submitted he was ‘‘very, very responsible’’, but Mr Raleigh strongly disagreed, stating ‘‘he drives under the influence of drugs . . . he’s not a responsible man’’.
‘‘If I had the power to jail him under the legislation, I would be jailing him,’’ Mr Raleigh said. ‘‘It’s terrifying.’’
Mr Sofra said Napolitano’s job was terminated as a result of the offending, adding he was working hard to provide for his family which ‘‘shows a degree of responsibility’’.
Meanwhile, Cracknell was intercepted by police on January 22 at 12.45 am on BarmahShepparton
Rd, where a subsequent oral fluid test revealed methamphetamine in his system.
Cracknell told the court he did a VicRoads medical every 12 months due to a brain disease.
‘‘I wouldn’t like you on the road at all. It’s the third time you’ve been caught driving under the influence of drugs,’’ Mr Raleigh told him.
Napolitano was fined $1400 and disqualified from driving for 12 months, while Cracknell was fined $750 and disqualified from driving for 12 months.
‘‘Drivers of large vehicles, and small vehicles, who drive under the influence of drugs put every innocent driver at risk and we have to do something to stamp it out,’’ Mr Raleigh said.