Drunk driver who crashed in own street avoids jail

Drunk driver who crashed in own street avoids jail

A DRUNK driver is lucky not to have killed anyone when he crashed into a power pole in a residential street on a Thursday afternoon.

At 5.29pm on August 1, Caillan Cochrane Smith (29) was driving on the Beldon street he lives on when he lost control around a bend and struck the pole, snapping it at the base.

His blood alcohol reading was 0.218 – more than four times the legal limit – resulting in his drivers licence being immediately disqualified.

Appearing in Joondalup Magistrates Court on Friday, Magistrate Sandra De Maio said it was “by the grace of God” Smith did not kill anyone because of his “stupid decision to drive”.

“You’ll never escape that guilt,” she said.

She said his blood alcohol reading was “sky high” and “too much for a fine” and his record was “terrible”.

“It screams ‘I have problems with alcohol’,” she said.

Smith was also facing charges of failing to comply with a request to give police personal details, disorderly behaviour in a police station or lock-up and breach of bail.

The court then heard that at 10.20pm on July 6, Smith was asleep in a taxi in front of a Northbridge venue.

The taxi driver was unable to wake him so he waved down passing police.

Police tried to verbally wake him with no success, so then physically had to rouse him.

With traffic building up, Smith was advised to pay, which he did but then went back to sleep.

Police again woke him and he yelled, “I just f***ing paid him” before getting out of the taxi.

The prosecutor said Smith then stumbled and police tried to help him but he pushed them away and walked off.

Police then issued a move on notice and asked him for his personal details, which he refused several times.

He was then taken to Perth police station and put in an observation cell where he continued to shout “lots of colourful language”.

He was then to appear in court on July 29 but did not show.

Smith’s lawyer said her client, who is in a de facto relationship and has a 14-year-old daughter, was “extremely intoxicated” during the two incidents and had since engaged counselling.

She said Smith saw these incidents as a “turning point” and acknowledged the financial and emotional impact it was having on his family.

“He is extremely remorseful and dedicated to rehabilitation,” she said.

She requested Ms De Maio consider an intensive supervision order to allow Smith to enrol in helpful programs but also to continue being the primary financial supporter of his family.

Ms De Maio said it was evident Smith’s problems with alcohol were “governing” his life.

“It’s not acceptable. You’re 29 and a father, you should have learnt your lesson way before now,” she said.

Ms De Maio said she could sentence Smith to a maximum of 18 months in prison for the drink driving but acknowledged he had “finally taken steps” to reduce his issues with alcohol.

So she sentenced him to seven months, suspended for 10 months “with conditions in case you lose motivation”, which included supervision orders and programs.

His licence was also disqualified for the minimum 30 months.

For the other three charges, she imposed a fine of $1500.

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