Rising Bronco faces court for driving while suspended
BRONCOS young gun Tesi Niu has been told to kerb his speed when off the field after getting busted driving unlicensed because of a pile of demerit points for speeding.
When 19-year-old Niu went before an Ipswich court on Friday morning, Magistrate Terry Duroux counted 18 demerit points against the Broncos player’s name.
The court heard Niu was on his way home from training when intercepted and charged.
As a result his licence suspension will stretch out for six more months.
Fanitesi Niu, 19, from Inala, pleaded guilty on Friday to driving when unlicensed due to the allocation of demerit points at Redbank Plains on Wednesday, February 10.
Prosecutor Sergeant Matt Donnelly said police stopped Niu when driving a Ford Mondeo on Mount Juillerat Drive at 6.55pm.
Checks revealed Niu’s licence had been suspended from driving for three months from December 15.
“He said he did not realise he was suspended from driving,” Sgt Donnelly said.
“He was driving home from training. A passenger with him held an open licence.”
Niu’s lawyer told the court that he was born in New Zealand and went through the Broncos college of excellence training while at school.
He had also played rugby for Tonga.
“He really had no idea his licence had been suspended. It was a lapse in judgment,” the lawyer said.
“Unfortunately news articles are already starting to run rampant.
“He will be playing for the Broncos this year.”
He sought a more lenient penalty because Niu would be in the public spotlight, and that the court take into account the fact that the NRL and his club would also take action.
Mr Duroux said he counted 18 demerit points Niu had against his licence since July 2019.
“I have a concern about your driving behaviour on the roads of Queensland,” Mr Duroux said.
“For someone so young it is very concerning.
“It seems you have a very bright future ahead and I am told that you are talented.
“I accept there are likely other penalties from the Broncos and the NRL.
“I do accept you will suffer extra punishment by the publicity, so I reduce the penalty today.”
Mr Duroux said although he was not aware of his licence suspension at the time, in the end it was a driver’s responsibility to know what was happening.
Niu was fined $400 and disqualified from driving for six months.
Mr Duroux warned him that if was caught by police driving when disqualified “all sorts of horrible other things can occur”.
“Don’t take the risk, it’s not worth it,” Mr Duroux said.