A WODONGA man with five drink-driving offences, the first when he was just 17, has avoided time in a NSW jail.
Instead Jamie Dean Bleakley, 29, was yesterday put on a 12-month suspended sentence after a successful appeal to Judge Stephen Walmsley in the District Court at Albury.
Bleakley was sentenced in March by magistrate Tony Murray to six months in jail on two counts of high-range drink-driving and disqualified driving.
But Bleakley immediately lodged severity appeals and was released on bail the same day.
Solicitor Tim Hemsley based his argument for a suspended sentence on the fact Bleakley has completed a residential rehabilitation program in Melbourne since his appearance in Albury Local Court.
“He has a very unimpressive record,” Judge Walmsley said.
“The appellant has finally done something to deal with his problem.”
Director of Public Prosecutions representative Graham Lamond said: “This gentleman has had many opportunities.”
They included an order for assessment and treatment after a Victorian court appearance in 2010.
Bleakley’s high-powered Ford XR8 began spinning out of control on Wagga Road at Lavington about 9.50pm on November 6 and narrowly missed two other cars before he was stopped by police in Kaylock Road.
He was arrested and a breath analysis showed a blood alcohol reading of 0.172.
It was discovered there were outstanding warrants for Bleakley on high-range drink-driving and disqualified driving offences from 2007 when he failed to attend court.
His blood alcohol reading was 0.170 after police saw him doing a burnout.
Mr Hemsley said Bleakley feared the prospect of going to jail and wanted to get employment.
Judge Walmsley dismissed the drink-driving and disqualified driving matters from 2007, but confirmed the convictions.
He increased the 10-month jail term, with minimum of six months, imposed on Bleakley by Mr Murray to 12 months.
But Judge Walmsley ordered the 12-month term be suspended with Bleakley to attend further rehabilitation counselling.
The three-year driving ban imposed by Mr Murray was confirmed by Judge Walmsley.
“This is an opportunity for you,” Judge Walmsley told Bleakley.