Drunk army soldier ‘can’t remember’ getting into car
AN AUSTRALIAN Defence Force member busted at more than three times the alcohol limit could now face discharge as a result of pleading guilty.
The man, who an Ipswich court heard was once named “most outstanding soldier” among his group, was so drunk when police pulled him over that he couldn’t remember why he got into the car in the first place.
Before being intercepted he had driven about 3km from home at 2.30am on a Sunday morning.
A police breath test returned an alcohol reading of 0.179.
Rowcliff, 24, from Augustine Heights, pleaded guilty to driving UIL on Tuesday.
Prosecutor Sergeant Trent Voigt said Rowcliff was intercepted by police when driving along Augusta Parkway at 2.25am.
Police noticed a strong smell of alcohol and Rowcliff’s bloodshot eyes.
Defence lawyer Cathy Vo said Rowcliff knew the dangers of drink driving because his parents were both NSW police officers.
“He is a proud member of the Australian Defence Force, “ Ms Vo said.
“He joined the Army to serve his community. On graduation he was awarded most outstanding soldier.”
Ms Vo said Rowcliff went to a party that night and drank about five beers and some cocktails.
He left at 1.30am, with his partner driving him home.
“He sat on the lounge, and can’t remember what happened next,” Ms Vo said.
“He was shocked, confused. He turned the car around and was intercepted by police.
“He cannot explain why he was driving. It was very out of character.
“He is attending a psychologist to try and understand why he put himself in that position.
“His army career is very important to him and he breached the trust and reputation of the Australian Army.”
Magistrate David Shepherd asked what the possible ramifications were for Rowcliff’s career.
Ms Vo said it could involve discharge, or a 24-month hold in being able to engage in operations.
“That seems somewhat harsh,” Mr Shepherd said.
Sgt Voigt said the alcohol reading was very high and police could see no reason why a conviction should not be recorded for the offence.
“It is such a big reading and I don’t need to describe what the public response should be to people driving in that range,” Mr Shepherd said.
Mr Shepherd said Rowcliff had no previous convictions of any description.
“The message has got to get across to people that this is just not on. Yet it continues and continues,” Mr Shepherd said.
He noted that Rowcliff would suffer severe consequences as a member of the ADF.
Rowcliff was fined $1000 and his licence was disqualified for eight months. A conviction was recorded.