Repeat suspended driving offender spared

MAGISTRATE Stephen Wilson has deemed a man to have a ‘death wish’ for repeatedly driving while under suspension.

Mark Vito Bonini pleaded guilty to four charges of using an unlicensed vehicle on the road, two of having no authority to drive and driving a motorcycle without a helmet.

The prosecutor said police stopped Bonini in Wandi on October 22 for a wearing a non-regulation helmet.

Bonini told police he had bought it off Gumtree earlier and trusted the seller’s word that it was the correct type.

Further police checks uncovered that Bonini and his bike were unlicensed.

Duty counsel for Bonini said he had no money that day for a bus or train to get work and he did not want to disappoint his boss by not turning up.

He felt he had no other option to get to work and made the decision to drive.

The prosecutor said Bonini had six recent driving under suspension convictions.

The new charges also breached a suspended imprisonment order for similar prior convictions.

The prosecutor strongly recommended imprisonment, as Bonini had already been given an opportunity three months ago. Magistrate Wilson agreed there was no doubt of a term of imprisonment.

“He’s just completely gone off the rails the last 12 months. It’s like he’s on a death wish almost,” he said.

“This is almost like he is saying: I want to go to jail.”

The lawyer said Bonini did not want to go to jail and had lost financial strength, which was seriously affecting him.

“I ask that you give him one more opportunity,” he said.

Magistrate Wilson said he had to make good on his promise to turn things around.

“One of the hardest things a court has to do is sentence someone for a non-aggravated driving situation,” he said.

“You know full well you shouldn’t have been driving. Everyone and the court sympathises that there are plenty of people doing it tough financially and WA is not the easiest place to get around.

“But, there comes a time when I have to put the message out not to drive while under suspension.

“I could put you in jail but that leaves a mess for everyone else. The family become dependant on the state because you’re not there to support them.

“I’m prepared to suspend it for one more time. I do it because you have already spent two weeks in custody and have a relatively minor record.”

Bonini was fined $550 for the helmet, to pay half the annual license fee for his Harley Davidson, received 18 months further driving suspensions and a seven-month (suspended for 18 months) sentence.