A priest running late to meet with a family to organise funeral arrangements was caught putting his own life at risk in a rush to complete his duties - driving at 160km/h up the Hume Freeway.
Father Abogonye James Onoja appeared in Wangaratta Magistrates Court this week to plead guilty to speeding through Springhurst while driving northbound just after 7pm on November 25 last year.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Heath Dosser said the blue Subaru was in the right lane of the freeway when its speed was detected by police with a radar gun, 50km/h over the limit in the 110km/h zone.
"Other vehicles were on that road at the time," he said.
"The accused stated he was a priest and was speeding due to being late for a meeting at 7pm in Young.
"He was some 263 kilometres away from that destination."
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Defence solicitor Geoff Clancy said Onoja was on his way to meet with a family, but accepted there was no excuse for his speeding.
"He was overtaking some trucks at very fast speed," he said.
Onoja moved from Nigeria to Australia five years ago and now lives in the ACT.
Mr Clancy said the priest's family were under pressure back in Nigeria, where they had been receiving threats at the time.
"He was concerned for their welfare and the moment got away from him," he said.
"There is a lack of ordained priests in Australia.
"He volunteered to come to Australia and he has plans on staying."
Mr Clancy asked for leniency because Onoja has "given his life to the community" and "provides a great community service".
Magistrate Ian Watkins fined Onoja $400 without conviction.