His distress at bad news about a gravely ill sister has led to a Springdale Heights man getting on the booze before "supervising" his learner driver teenage son.
Rodney Joseph Smith was three times above the legal blood alcohol limit at 0.159 when the 16-year-old was pulled over by police.
The pair had just left a Lavington service station after Smith bought some cigarettes, Albury Local Court heard on Monday.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Smith's drinks menu included several beers at the Springdale Heights Tavern and some bourbon whiskeys at home.
Magistrate Richard Funston told Smith there was no doubt the news was greatly upsetting, but his actions in the early hours of January 31 were difficult to believe.
"What was he thinking?" Mr Funston asked defence lawyer Mark Cronin.
Mr Cronin said at the crux of what Smith did was a phone call he received from a sister.
She advised him that their other sister, who had cancer, had been admitted to hospital and "she wouldn't be coming out".
Mr Cronin said the news about the sister, who was still alive, hit his client hard.
He was at home and began drinking.
Mr Cronin said Smith later turned to his son and said: "I need some cigarettes."
The son, aware that his father could not drive, offered to do so in his place.
Mr Cronin submitted to Mr Funston that Smith's case might very well be one where the court did not take action on his licence.
That was because of his virtually unblemished, 45-year driving record, the lack of any aggravating factors in his son's driving and his early guilty plea.
But Mr Funston said while he could sympathise with Smith, he had no choice but to disqualify when a 16-year-old was "learning to drive in that context".
"He's looking to his father as a role model," he said.
Smith, 63, was disqualified for six months and was convicted and fined $800 on a charge of licensed driver with a high-range prescribed concentration of alcohol sitting next to a learner driver.