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UPDATED 1 AUGUST 2017
Pendlebury v Queensland Police Service  QDC 166 – 24 May 2017, District Court of Queensland, Harrison DCJ
Criminal Law — appeal pursuant to s 222 Justices Act 1886 — conviction — charge of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle whilst adversely affected — charge of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle — charge of failing to appear — various other charges — whether sentence in each case manifestly excessive
Issues: P was charged with one count of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle while adversely affected by drugs, one count of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle (some 9 months later), and a variety of other traffic, drug and bail matters. A Magistrate sentenced her to 2 years 9 months and 2 years 6 months jail respectively and concurrent for the two dangerous operation counts.
Sentence: Two years and 1 year jail respectively and concurrent.
Commentary: For the first count P was driving on the Bruce Highway between Innisfail and Gordonvale. Her speed varied between 60km/h and 100km/h over a distance of 15km. She swerved off the road causing oncoming motorists to take evasive action 23 times. This included crossing double white lines on blind corners. She had amphetamines and methylamphetamines in her blood.
For the second count P was on bail for the first count. She drove erratically on the Kennedy Highway near Kuranda. Over a distance of 10km she was observed to come close to colliding with a number of other vehicles. Eventually, she sideswiped a vehicle, ran off the road and sustained severe injuries.
She had poor criminal and traffic histories, but this was the first occasion on which her behaviour would have attracted jail as the primary penalty. She was 39 years old.
At sentencing, the Magistrate had been referred to a single comparative sentence which Harrison DCJ considered to be unhelpful. After referring to Heydt v Commissioner of Police  QDC 104, His Honour concluded that the sentence imposed by the Magistrate was manifestly excessive and that an overall sentence of 2 years would be appropriate.
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