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Author Topic: Kayaker Fined for Drink Paddling  (Read 1077 times)

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Kayaker Fined for Drink Paddling
« on: February 02, 2014, 12:53:27 AM »
Sunshine Coast Daily - 1 Feb 2014

A KAYAKER on the Maroochy River was so drunk he ended up in the drink - twice.

The 43-year-old Maroochydore man later recorded a blood-alcohol reading more than four times the legal limit.

He was fined $750 yesterday for being in charge of a vessel while under the influence of liquor.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Stuart Lydford told the Maroochydore Magistrates Court that Water Police received a report about 3.15pm on December 14 that an "extremely intoxicated male" had fallen out of a kayak and could not get back in.

Snr Const Lydford said that when police arrived, they saw him fall out of a kayak and on to the beach.

The man smelt of alcohol, his speech was slurred and he told the police that abrasions on his head were from mangroves.

Stephen John MacDonald later registered a BAC of 0.236% at the station.

The court heard yesterday that MacDonald had previous convictions for drink-driving.

He was sentenced to 160 hours of community service in 2012 after recording a BAC of 0.307%.

Magistrate Barry Barrett, in sentencing MacDonald, said he had fortunately not been a danger to anyone else on the river.

"The real danger was to yourself ... to be in a kayak with that reading," he said.

Outside the court, MacDonald said he did not realise he had committed an offence by being drunk in a kayak.

"I see it all the time, people having a drink and fishing," he said.

Traffic law specialist Andrew Wiseman, of Wiseman Lawyers, said many people were unaware that they could be charged for being over the limit even if they were not driving a conventional motor vehicle.

And even someone cutting the grass on their own property on a ride-on mower with a few beers under their belt was at risk, he said.

Mr Wiseman said any self-propelled device, including motorised wheelchairs and ride-on mowers, could be considered a vehicle, although the legislation had been expanded over the years to include bicycles.

He said a driver who was over the limit could be charged even if they were on private property, unless they were behind a locked gate.

Mr Wiseman said someone who was over the limit did not necessarily have to be driving a vehicle to be charged.

He said that having the keys in the ignition or in a pocket, or even being asleep on the back seat could be considered "in charge" of a vehicle.

"I get a lot of people who are done sleeping in their car and there's no way out of it."

http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/Kayaker-arrested-while-four-times-the-legal-limit/2157343/


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