Disqualified driver pinged

A Howlong man became so irate at being caught driving while disqualified that he drove off in front of police, a court has heard.

But it wasn’t his expletive-packed rant at the officers who pulled him over that incurred the wrath of magistrate Tony Murray.

It was the simple fact that he blatantly repeated the offence for which he had just been pinged.

“Sir, you’re at risk of going to jail for this,” Mr Murray told James Albert Potter in Albury Local Court.

“Especially the one where you’ve driven off when you’ve been stopped. The second one – that’s the big problem.”

Unlike the night of his arrest, the 40-year-old did his best to show some contrition when he appeared before Mr Murray.

When Mr Murray highlighted the “stupidity” of Potter’s actions, the defendant replied: “I agree your honour.”

Potter pleaded guilty to two counts of driving while disqualified, each of these second offences.

But it will be several weeks before Potter finds out whether Mr Murray makes good on his warning that he might be going to jail.

Mr Murray ordered the preparation of a full pre-sentence report for Potter to allow him – as he regularly points out – to consider possible non-jail options.

But Mr Murray especially emphasised to Potter that he get the report done otherwise he would end up behind bars.

It was about 3.40pm on December 16 that police came across Potter while they were doing random breath tests in Hawkins Street, Howlong.

He was asked to provide his licence, to which he said: “It’s at home.”

Potter then admitted he did not have a licence, but explained he was driving because he was doing community service that day.

A police check revealed Potter’s NSW licence was disqualified just weeks before after he appeared in a Victorian court on a drink-driving charge.

The suspension period imposed by that magistrate was from November 21, 2017, to March 20, 2019.

When the officers returned to his car, Potter became “very abusive”. He was handed a field court attendance notice, which he snatched, screwed up and threw on to the floor of his car.

“You f … ing maggots,” he said, “I was honest with you and you still book me.”

He then got in his car and drove home, where he was arrested while continuing to abuse police. Potter will be sentenced on March 14.