AN Albury father who got behind the wheel despite being disqualified from driving did so to buy medicine for his sick baby, a court heard yesterday.
Shannon Quilty said his three-month-old daughter was in “so much pain” from colic, that he was compelled to drive to the supermarket to buy a treatment, despite having been put off the roads until 2017.
Quilty, 35, of Miller Street, yesterday faced Albury Local Court on one count of driving while disqualified.
He was charged after being pulled over for a random breath test on July 13 this year about 10.35pm; the breath test was negative but he admitted to not holding a licence as he was disqualified.
In facts tendered to the court, Quilty did not tell officers at the time why he had decided to drive, only stating that he “had to pick up supplies for the new baby”.
He was issued with an infringement notice and walked home, arriving about an hour later.
The court had previously heard sworn evidence from Quilty and his partner attesting to their child’s illness and his reasons for driving, and a letter was tendered to the court from his partner.
She said she was unable to drive as the baby was too unwell to take out and she couldn’t leave the child with Quilty as breast-feeding was the only thing settling her, despite contributing to the colic.
“He insisted on going ... as he didn’t want to see her suffer like that,” the letter read.
However, police prosecutor Sgt Shannon Lewis tendered a statement from the arresting officer reiterating that Quilty did not mention the baby’s illness, nor show the officer the medicine, despite being pulled over after he had already been to the supermarket.
Magistrate Tony Murray said there was no reason not to find the officer’s version of events true and correct: “If you were in the position of the defendant, you would expect to show the medicine to the officer.”
Mr Murray also noted Quilty and his partner had given sworn testimony, which “she has stood by in full ... and his version is consistent”, and he was satisfied the reason for his driving was true and could be considered a mitigating factor.
“I accept you had a sick child but in the cold hard light of day there should have been other alternatives open to you,” he said.
Quilty was convicted and placed on a two-year good behaviour bond.