Driver's 'good deed' earns heavy fine
DRIVING his relatives around on church business is no sin, but for disqualified driver Faalili Umaga it amounted to a blatant breach of a court order.
Ipswich Magistrates Court heard Umaga was already disqualified for two years when he was intercepted driving again just two months later.
He was also suspended because of unpaid fines and his car had one bald tyre, the court was told.
As a result of his offending Umaga has been banished from the road for another four years.
Faalili Dynes Siaki Umaga, 29, from Redbank Plains, pleaded guilty to driving when disqualified by court order, driving when suspended by State Penalties Enforcement Agency as a repeat offender; and driving an otherwise safe but defective vehicle.
Prosecutor Senior Constable Dave Shelton said the offences took place at Redbank Plains at 11.55pm on Saturday, April 27, when police stopped his black Jeep Patriot.
Checks revealed the driver's licence to be both disqualified and SPER suspended.
An Ipswich magistrate disqualified his driver's licence for two years only 11 weeks earlier on February 5.
Snr Const Shelton said the front right tyre was deemed to be below the minimum tread.
"He could not provide a driver's licence. The licence was also suspended due to SPER," he said.
"He said he was on his way to his Aunties house to collect belongings."
Defence lawyer Mathew Fairclough said it was an unfortunate situation in that Umaga was now at some risk of going to jail given his prior conviction.
"He tells us he was driving family members on church business. He was essentially doing a good deed.
"It was not just for a social reason."
Mr Fairclough said Umaga was a father of one child, of good character, and he sought that he not receive a jail sentence for his offences.
"It was an incredibly silly thing to do given two months earlier you were disqualified by court order for two years," Magistrate David Shepherd said.
"You are putting yourself and your family at risk. You in particular run the risk of going to prison.
"Prison is a last resort. It is not an offence of violence which requires the court to disregard that.
"If a court says no, or a relevant authority that you cannot drive, it is as simple as that."
Mr Shepherd fined Umaga $1000 and disqualified him from driving for another two years, which was added onto his existing disqualification.